After months of speculation about Paul George’s immediate future in the NBA, the Indiana Pacers shocked the NBA world by trading the superstar to the Oklahoma City Thunder. No one saw this coming, and now the question is whether he’ll leave Oklahoma City for the Los Angeles Lakers next summer in NBA free agency.
Recently, George sat down for an interview with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. George talked about his mindset and the possibility of playing for the Lakers, transcription via Dan Feldman of Pro Basketball Talk:
“Of course, I wanted to come home. I wanted to play in L.A. and play for my hometown. But then a lot of me looked situation – like, if a team comes in and you absolutely love it, why walk away from it?”
Obviously, George still has Los Angeles very much on his mind. The prospect of signing with the Lakers next year is still a realistic possibility, but the Thunder’s potential success could quickly change that.
Although George does seem to be giving the Lakers serious consideration, leaving a winning situation for a team that’s rebuilding team doesn’t make much sense. The difference, however, may be that the Lakers can bring in LeBron James or another superstar to pair with George in Los Angeles. That could tilt the scales next year.
Anything can happen between now and the start of NBA free agency next July. It isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that George is traded for a second time before next summer if the Thunder are convinced he won’t stay and aren’t looking like a championship contender. Trade buzz could spark up once again come February with the NBA trade deadline looming.
As for the Lakers, the storied franchise needs to stay the course and continue to develop their young players. So far, things are looking up in Los Angeles with Lonzo Ball looking like the real deal and opportunities to bring in superstars to play with him being realistic for the first time in years.