As the Los Angeles Lakers are currently preparing for the 2018 NBA Draft and free agency, the major question is if they can finally sign at least one All-Star player with two max-contract slots available.
After rebuilding through the draft the last five seasons, the Lakers have finally established a legitimate young core, highlighted by Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball receiving 2017-18 NBA All-Rookie First and Second Team honors.
With all eyes on what Los Angeles will do this offseason, CJ McCollum joined Adrian Wojnarowski on “The Woj Pod” to discuss numerous topics from the Portland Trail Blazers’ surprising first round exit against the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2018 NBA playoffs to him recruiting Paul George prior to the season.
Following a first-round exit last season, McCollum and Damian Lillard were recruiting numerous players to join them in Portland to form a big three. Despite being linked to George and Carmelo Anthony, the Blazers ultimately could not make a trade.
After telling his story, McCollum hinted at George’s upcoming decision:
“I already tried to get Paul George once. He already turned us down once. I mean you can only shoot your shot so many times in the DMs before you give up. He left me on read receipt, but nah, he’s a cool dude. He’s got to do what’s best for his family. He couldn’t control where he went. He ended up getting traded anyway to OKC, so I wish him nothing but the best and I’m sure he’ll enjoy that California sunshine next season.”
When the crowd reacted, the 26-year-old doubled down on his statement:
“What… It’s the truth.”
While McCollum could be referring to the Clippers, George has been consistently linked to the Lakers. Even after the Indiana Pacers traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, many executives still anticipate the 28-year-old making his way to his hometown.
Shortly after losing in the first round to the Utah Jazz, George underwent a left knee scope that is expected to keep him out for six-to-eight weeks. Fortunately for the five-time All-Star, it will not have an impact on his free agency.
For the Lakers, president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka are confident they can persuade at least one All-Star player to sign this summer. If George ultimately re-signs with the Thunder, there is another hometown player the Lakers have been linked to in Kawhi Leonard, who faces an uncertain future with the San Antonio Spurs.
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