If Paul George is as hell-bent as he’s been reported to be on becoming a Los Angeles Laker, the question for Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka becomes whether to acquire him sooner versus later.
Regardless of when George comes to L.A., though, in order for the move to make sense for really anyone involved, the Lakers’ roster will have to improve pretty demonstrably.
Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus did a very good job detailing that point in his latest piece, but also included a few tidbits from an NBA executive on what the sentiment might be around the league not only regarding what George might want, but almost as importantly, what his agent, Aaron Mintz might have up his sleeve (emphasis mine).
“The same executive noted the Pacers must get enough for George to make a trade worthwhile,” Pincus writes. “It may not have to be players like Ingram or Russell, or the Lakers' No. 2 pick. Indiana might just let George leave to open up cap space if the return is too marginal. He also noted Mintz might prefer to keep his clients together in Los Angeles, as he represents both Russell and Randle.”
Previously, there were reports that George’s camp was telling the Lakers to hold off on trading parts of their young core and instead waiting for him to arrive via free agency at the end of next season. It doesn’t seem far-fetched, therefore, that Mintz could be working behind the scenes to ensure George is welcomed to the Lakers by a couple of his other clients.
This isn’t to say that’s actually what’s going on. There’s no way of knowing that right now. Just that it seems fairly possible.
It benefits everyone involved if the Lakers wait this out, especially if the Pacers are still trying to convince themselves they can put a contender around George. A full year would give the front office time to watch who grows as expected or allows plenty of time to make any move necessary with those who haven’t kept up.
Agents’ impacts on the league is rarely spoken about, but is also undeniable. If Mintz’s efforts lead to George coming to the Lakers for nothing but cap space a year from now, he shouldn’t have to buy a meal in the great Los Angeles area for quite some time.