With the Indiana Pacers now officially headed into their offseason, the plot thickens concerning the long-term future of All-Star forward Paul George.
Rumors have run rampant about his intentions to play for the Los Angeles Lakers if the Pacers can’t put together a championship-caliber squad. Apparently, George may have let his intentions be known well before this year.
According to Mitch Lawrence of Sporting News, it was never secret that George eventually wanted to land with the Lakers:
He’s never made his long-term intentions a secret within the Pacers’ locker room, according to former teammates. He wants to wear the purple and gold.
Not only may George have his sights set on being a Laker, but Magic Johnson may be determined to make it happen. Johnson and the Lakers brass are desperately looking for a star player and hope to have one on the roster next season in order to have a representative in the 2018 NBA All-Star Game which will be played at the Staples Center.
Team president Jeanie Buss recently said she’d be heartbroken if the Lakers didn’t have a player in the All-Star Game next year. Clearly, the Lakers brass is motivated to make that happen, especially Magic, according to Lawrence:
So it’s no surprise that Johnson will probably pursue George and set out to build a title team around him, according to multiple sources who have known Johnson over the years.
Although Johnson and company may take a run at acquiring George in a trade this summer, their sole focus right now is the upcoming NBA Draft Lottery. The team has 46.9 percent chance of retaining their pick and will have to wait to see if the balls bounce their way on May 16 when the lottery takes place.
If the Lakers keep their top-three protected pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, it’ll be interesting to see if they try to trade it or bring in another young player like Lonzo Ball (UCLA), Markelle Fultz (Washington), or Josh Jackson (Kansas) depending on their draft position.
The storied franchise wants star power but may have to sacrifice youth in order to do so.