Lakers Rumors: Paul George’s Agent Wants L.A. To Keep D’Angelo Russell, Julius...

Lakers Rumors: Paul George’s Agent Wants L.A. To Keep D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers are rumored to be involved in trade talks with the Indiana Pacers centered around star forward Paul George. According to reports, George’s agent, Aaron Mintz, informed the Pacers that his client would pursue free agency in the summer of 2018 and would not consider staying in Indiana. Mintz also represents Lakers players D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, leading to speculation on just who might be in a deal for George.

The Lakers have reportedly declined to include small forward Brandon Ingram in the deal as well as the second overall pick. Meanwhile, Mintz prefers that Russell and Randle both remain in Los Angeles so they could play with George, according to Sam Amick of USA Today:

While it remains to be seen how important it is to keep all three of Mintz’s players together, it does appear to be a factor in the process. The Pacers have engaged a number of teams on a potential George trade, but the problem they have is that George can only be valued as a one-year rental for any team not named the Lakers since George has already made his desire to sign with Los Angeles in free agency in 2018 known.

That said, because George will become a free agent next summer, the Lakers have to be extremely cautious about what they give up in order to trade for him. If they deplete their roster too much, then George won’t have much of a team around him in Los Angeles and would thus be more likely to leave in free agency, which would be a disaster for the Lakers.

It’s going to be an interesting negotiation with both sides pressing for the best deal they can get. Ultimately, if the Pacers won’t accept a deal that doesn’t include Randle, Russell, Ingram, or the second pick in the draft, the Lakers may be best served by simply waiting to pursue George in free agency next summer.