For many in the Los Angeles Lakers fan base, Paul George coming has felt like just about as close to a sure thing as one sees in this kind of situation. He was reportedly “hell-bent” on becoming a Laker about a year ago and it didn’t feel like last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder was enough to sway him.
Well, about that.
Sham Charania as asked about the feeling around the Thunder and George and had this to say on “Yahoo Sports NBA: Chris Mannix”:
“I think there’s a lot of positivity around it, and I think even around Paul George, there’s a sense he feels like he’s in a good place in Oklahoma City. But things change. There’s different dominoes that’s going to change over these next few weeks.
LeBron James is probably the biggest domino that’s going to drop. Until the league gets ahold of what his aspirations are, Paul George can very well decide to stay in Oklahoma City and not wait for what LeBron James is going to do but that’s gonna be a conversation that’s probably going to need to be had privately among both parties.”
Frankly, there’s a ton of speculation here. Of course, things could change in the next few weeks. LeBron calling him to propose the two teaming up in Los Angeles is enough to force anyone to rethink their situation. But the fact that some people around George think he’s staying is definitely noteworthy.
It’d be one thing if it was just the Thunder who felt positive about their chances at retaining him. They felt similarly about Kevin Durant, who is one win away from winning back-to-back championships with the Golden State Warriors. George’s camp sharing OKC’s positivity should give Laker fans pause.
Aaron Mintz’s relationship with Rob Pelinka is also worth considering here.
Pelinka sent D’Angelo Russell to Brooklyn last offseason and there was that whole thing about Julius Randle, another Mintz client, not feeling like a high enough priority for the Lakers heading into the summer.
Maybe this is more posturing from Mintz as he tries to get all his clients paid as much as possible, but again, this isn’t something that should be dismissed out of hand as simply a former agent rubbing a current one the wrong way.
Make no mistake about it. The Lakers not signing at least two superstars over the course of the next two offseasons would be a disaster. They traded away a number two pick for the mere opportunity to land an elite free agent. Not doing so now would be a complete waste of assets.
One thing’s for sure given the stakes: It’s going to be a long and rumor-filled summer.