Towards the end of last season former Indiana Pacers star Paul George made it clear that when he becomes a free agent in 2018 he intended to leave Indiana to join his hometown Los Angeles Lakers.
Because of that, the Pacers began actively shopping him on the trade market. The Lakers attempted to trade for the four-time All-Star, but Indiana had no interest in giving George and the Lakers what they wanted, instead trading him to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for what many believe was a lesser return in Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
George still has one year until he hits free agency, but it is still widely believed that he is bound for Los Angeles unless Oklahoma City somehow wins or competes for a championship.
While George was recently attending the weigh-in for the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor boxing match, someone asked him if the plan is still to go to the Lakers, and George was more noncommittal than in the past, via Kristian Winfield of SB Nation:
“We’ll see,” he continued, addressing the idea of joining the Lakers next season. “I’m a Thunder, and my job is to give them the best I have this year and see what happens after that.”
The Pacers recently accused the Lakers and president of basketball operations Magic Johnson of tampering with George, so there currently is an ongoing investigation.
If the allegations are proved to be true then it is possible that the Lakers would not be able to sign George in free agency next summer.
The Lakers front office made some significant moves this summer both on the trade and free agent market to preserve cap space to not only sign George next summer, but also another max caliber free agent as well with LeBron James and George’s current teammate Russell Westbrook both being possibilities.
It will be interesting to see how this season plays out for George in Oklahoma City and if he still feels the same way he did this summer a year from now.