The Indiana Pacers appear to be prepared to part with star forward Paul George now that he has informed them that he intends to leave in free agency. George prefers to land in Los Angeles next summer, and with the knowledge that he is leaving in a year, the Pacers need to do all that they can in order get something for him.
With that being the case, the Pacers have opened trade discussions with a number of teams, but the problem is that George’s value is suppressed due to his impending free agency. Teams simply don’t want to part with long-term assets for a player who will likely bolt after one season.
That said, the Cleveland Cavaliers have emerged as one suitor who would consider trading for George and then hope that their championship aspirations would convince George to ultimately stay. According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, two NBA execs expect the Lakers to get involved in the trade discussions if a deal with the Cavs becomes close:
Two NBA sources expect Lakers to parachute into Paul George talks if the Cavs are closing in on a deal. Unclear if #2 would be on the table.
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) June 19, 2017
It has to be noted that, for the Pacers, a bidding war is a best-case scenario to try to get value for their star when they have zero leverage. The Cavs have little they can offer in the way of assets without parting with their core of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love, and they need to keep all three while still getting George in order to try to match the Golden State Warriors.
Therefore, a Cavs deal is difficult, unless they decide George is a better third star than Love. The Lakers, knowing that George ultimately wants to be with them, can let the situation play out.
If there is a way to add George on the cheap this summer then so be it, but keeping all of their assets and adding George to them next summer is still the ideal scenario for L.A.