The Paul George rumors have been out in full force over the past couple of days as he has reportedly told the Pacers that he intends to leave in free agency in 2018 in order to join the Los Angeles Lakers.
As is to be expected in that situation, the Pacers are now actively shopping George in hopes of being able to get something in return for their All-Star forward, but teams are reluctant to deal too much with the belief that he is Los Angeles bound in a year.
It may be more than a belief however, as Adrian Wojnarowski appeared on The Chris Mannix Show and said that George’s camp is flat out telling teams that regardless of who trades for him, George will be going to the Lakers in 2018:
“Teams are trying to decide what’s the appropriate cost for a player who they’re being told, pretty adamantly by Paul George’s camp, will be a rental. No matter who you are, no matter who has checked in or who potentially will check in, they’re gonna be told that Paul George is gonna play the season out and then he’s gonna go to the Lakers, that that’s his plan.”
If this is the case than the market for George will be even smaller as teams simply won’t be giving away long-term assets for a one year rental. This is also a great thing for the Lakers as it gives them even more leverage and could allow them to obtain George for a much smaller trade package should they choose that route.
The danger with allowing George to be traded elsewhere is that he could join a team with legit championship aspirations and want to stay there. The recent rumor that the Lakers would jump into discussions if a George to Cleveland deal got close is proof of that fear.
By going this route, George’s camp is controlling the market and almost forcing the Pacers to deal with the Lakers and the Lakers would then have to give up less in a trade. It would be an excellent outcome for George and the Lakers should it be the case, but certainly undesirable for Indiana.