Paul George Rumors Flare Up

Darius Soriano —  May 18, 2017

Considering he’s not even a member of the Lakers, we’ve written plenty about Paul George in these parts. I guess that what happens when there is, supposedly, a mutual affection between team and player to the point that the rumor mill continues to churn.

And churn it does.

Here’s a summary from all that’s happened this Thursday:

1. Paul George did not make any of the three All-NBA teams. What this means: George is not eligible, at least this summer, for the Super-Max extension written into the most recent Collective Bargaining agreement. That provision states that, among other things, if a player makes any of the All-NBA teams in two of the tree previous seasons before he signs an extension, he is eligible for a max contract at 35% of the salary cap. Because George only just completed his 7th season, this amount would be a full 5% more of the cap than he what he could sign for normally. This amounts to a massive difference in money over the life of a 5-year contract (roughly $75 million based on current cap projections). So, this is bad news for Paul George.

2. Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Lakers are “confident” they can sign George in free agency in the summer of 2018. Woj continues by implying that the Lakers may have even be told they should not trade for George because he would want them to have as good a roster as possible should he join them next summer. It’s hard to know whether this specific type of back-channel communication occurred (though, Woj reporting is normally well sourced), but George does have the same agent as Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell. So, you can connect the dots there and come to your own conclusions.

(UPDATED) 3. Sam Amick is reporting in a just released column that money will not matter as much to George as an opportunity to win. Further, Amick says that George has the Lakers in mind:

But after making it all the way back from his horrific leg break in the summer of 2014, and threatening to unseat the great LeBron James in those back-to-back Heat-Pacers conference finals, George finds himself more focused on legacy than ever. And whether it’s realistic or not, the 27-year-old who grew up idolizing Bryant in Palmdale, Calif. clearly believes he can lift the Lakers out of the darkness. The question now, it seems, is whether the Lakers will have the necessary patience and prudence on their end to make the most of their situation.

Well, then.

George, a native of Southern California is in Los Angeles for the off-season. He’s said that he may have discussions with Kobe about working out and is already putting in some hours with draft prospects (and one Julius Randle). Fans will read into stuff like that, but LA is a hub of off-season training for many NBA guys, not just the ones who grew up there.

That said, the rumors will continue to fly until George is either traded from or re-signs with the Pacers. This is the nature of things — especially when there’s been so much smoke about him and the Lakers plus his name being put out there by Pacers’ management leading up to February’s trade deadline. For now, though, we just wait. Welcome to the rumor season.

Darius Soriano

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to Paul George Rumors Flare Up

  1. The master plan is all coming together. I predict that by next summer, the Lakers will have a team with the potential to not only make the playoffs, but make a deep run. Say goodbye to the slow rebuild.


  2. As long as Deng and Mozgov’s contract is on the books, we will be limited until they expire. They hurt our ability to sign better players. Their contracts expire in 2020.

    Let’s wait and see what the front office can do. Until then, Jimmy’s poor decisions last year will continue to hover above the franchise. The piper will be paid unless you’re the Logo, lol.


    • At least one of them can be ‘stretched’ next year – this year means too many years for too much money.


    • Clay Bertrand May 18, 2017 at 9:54 pm

      Sometimes, the Piper gets Pennies on the Dollar…..especially if the Piper is named ORLANDO…………The NBA draft: Where 2 nickels rarely, if ever, equal a dime………

      Jimmy drafted Andrew Bynum!!!!!!!

      HAVE SOME RESPECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      (the last 2 sentences of this post were written in SARCASM FONT……)

      RIP Curly Bill and Chris Cornell………..


    • The Lakers have enough cap flexibility to sign George to a max contract even with both Deng/Mozgov.

      Yeah, it would be nice to get rid of them both, but it’s not a requirement just yet.


  3. More Lakers drama coming up, unless Ball takes a page out of Kobe’s playbook and shuts his old man down.


  4. Deng and Mozgov are albatross contracts. There is no way around it. Unless we find a way to get rid of those two we wont be able to make the dramatic improvements needed for a quick rebuilt. THAT, is the real challenge for Magic and Pelinka. Because people talk like is an easy thing. And like Darius mentioned on the other article, teams aren’t stupid. Any team that is willing to take any of those two off our hands is going to demand to a chunk of our young core to go along. That’s the reality. That’s why Magic, Pelinka and Jeanie are preaching patience, they know they can’t do a whole lot right now about that 136 million dollar rope the former regime left on the Lakers necks. Those contracts are unmovable, specially after just one year.They might be more tradeable after next season though. The only thing left to do is patch up the roster for next season and pray the kids improve a lot and whoever our pick is makes an inmediate impact. Not a lot else to do in the inmediate future. Im hopeful about Paul George but let’s hope we have some homemade organical growth to show before he arrives. IF he arrives at all…


    • Rick in Seattle May 19, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      Yes, both contracts are albatross contracts (and unless teams like Brooklyn or Minny are interested in players like Mozgov or Deng), both are likely to be more tradeable AFTER next season when they each have only two years remaining.

      And, if we are to believe Magic’s recent statements, the Lakers are planning to make their major push in free agency in 2018, not 2017. So where’s the rush to stretch them? But that should not stop the FO from liberally pushing them in possible trade scenarios.

      However, as history has shown, circumstances can and do frequently change. Trade opportunities can surprisingly, come out of the blue on short notice. The front office needs to be prepared for these.

      If Boston goes hard after George, it would give LA an opportunity to make a push for Butler. I’m guessing the cost would be a package like Russel, Randle and a pick.

      I would also like to hear more discussion about that potential Kings–Lakers swap that was recently mentioned by the K-brothers. If this rumor has legs, and the Kings are able to snag Fox with the 5th pick, I could see the Lakers considering a move down. But, it would be after the draft, because I don’t see the Lakers trading the 2nd pick unless they have a good idea what’s coming back. Personally, there are three players (after Fultz & Ball) who would all be decent fits with the Lakers current core; Jackson, Tatum & Fox all have value. The LAL FO would then have a lot of options with the #10 pick, either to pick another player they like or trade the pick to a team hungry for a 1st rounder (perhaps a team like Brooklyn who wants to get back in the game).

      As you know, I have been a proponent of trying to acquire Butler in trade (this year or next) and then going after George or Cousins in 2018 free agency. George would be fine at PF in an up tempo, Warriors-style offense. Just imagine for a second, if the Lakers were able to add Butler AND George to a core of Fox (or Ball), Ingram,& Zubac.
      Butler & George would cure a lot of their current defensive issues. Think big, Go Lakers!


    • While I agree with the patient approach, it’s the same approach the Mitch/Jim took when we swore the team was heading in the wrong direction.

      What we’re now hearing from Magic/Rob, however, is that the team has cap space for next year and players to develop….which seems to be a direct contradiction of everything we heard leading up to the regime change.

      So the question is: how much time do we give them? The front office re-org alone could take 1-2 years while people settle in and hit their stride.

      (on a side note, I can’t seem to post when I sign into my g+ account – anybody else have that problem?)


      • Magic and Pelinka are preaching the patient approach because there is no other choice. NONE, thats what Jim and Mitch left us when they blew the massive salary cap we had last summer, biggest in the league btw, on Mozgov and Deng. Its not even how much money they are making per season. It’s the damn length that is a killer. If those contracts were the same money per season but half the length, the Lakers would had 2 cap making expiring contracts for next season. Not even the Logo himself could solve this conundrum.People can fantazise all they want. The reality is that we’re going to have to eat those contracts for as long as 2 more seasons. And something that NO ONE mentions, after next season Randle’s rookie contract is done, DAR after him Ingram after that. And so forth. Magic and Pelinka inherited scorched earth. Reality bites. The only hope is that the young core becomes really good.


        • And something that NO ONE mentions, after next season Randle’s rookie contract is done, DAR after him Ingram after that.

          Actually, myself, RR and Robert picked up on ‘the shrinking cap space’ issue last summer when Jim/Mitch pulled the trigger on Mozgov/Deng. That’s why so many of us were adamant that our former FO was only trying to save their jobs versus doing what was right for the organization.

          Unless Magic/Pelinka can get really creative we will cap ourselves our resigning the young kids. If the kids have lower ceilings than we all hope the Lakers will face some ugly decisions (ie: blowing this up and starting over).

          Jim/Mitch: the gift that will keep on giving.


  5. ” the Lakers are “confident” they can sign George in free agency in the summer of 2018″. Last year at this time if someone said that they would be Jim Buss or a comedian. This year there seems to be two desirable players who cannot wait to be Lakers. What a difference a year makes!


  6. What I see as the most likely action on the MozDeng contracts is not finding someone to take them away (good luck), but to trade their problem contract for one of ours. There were a lot of bad ~16-18m/yr contracts handed out last year. If we can trade for one younger/better fit and stretch the other a year from now, that allows us to max PG and leaves the roster intact to develop the youth one more full year.


    • You have to find a team where Moz/Deng are a better fit for them than the player(s) they would like to the Lakers. We keep forgetting other teams also want to improve.


      • True, but it depends on additional comp, too. For example: Biyombo gives Orlando 22min and generates a total of 15 in all basic stats, 12 PER, etc. How much different would be Mozgov in the same spot? Not very. Would they swap? Would they do it for the two Chi 2nd rounders or the #28? Perhaps. Haven’t followed Biyombo, so I have no idea if we should want him or not specifically, it’s just an example of the deal structure that should be easier to find.

        The core of our young group has bonded and should not be broken casually for a trade dump. But if we can entice one swap for a better fitting player and stretch the other next year, we can get the PG max slot for 2018.


  7. Seems to me the more rumors, the more urgency for the Pacers to trade him.

    If that happens, his future as a Laker, moves further into the stream of speculation, like a fish moving down river.

    Salmon though he may be, swimming upstream, with bears and nets in his path, I won’t start my cooking fire.


  8. I think the end goal for both the Lakers and George’s camp is make this trade happen, rather than to sign as a free agent. A trade would allow George to get an extra year on his contract with the Lakers, while also eliminating the risk of George staying in Indy if he were to make the all-NBA team next season. Plus I think Magic and Pelinka are anxious to make a splash and usher in this new era for the Lakers ASAP. All these leaks and statements from both camps is geared towards one goal…to accelerate the trade without giving up too many assets. My guess is that George will be a Laker before the trade deadline, and possibly sooner.


    • A higher risk/reward approach might be to let another team rent him for a year (ahem, the Celtics), and if he’s available as a FA after next season the Lakers can make their pitch. The Celtics can simply offer more in a trade than L.A.

      The risk of course is that the Celtics with PG make the ’18 Finals, maybe even win a title, and do you think he’s going anywhere else then?

      The reward of course is the Lakers retain their talent base vs. gutting their talent, all to hire on a guy who would be nice to have in the fold but isn’t gonna drag a weakened Lakers team to a title.


      • … And of course if PG stays with Indy next season and makes all-NBA this whole thing likely blows up since he could sign a “super max” deal and stay with the Pacers.


      • Rick in Seattle May 21, 2017 at 4:47 pm

        Just adding Paul George is not going to put LAL deep into the playoffs. And in order to not waste George’s prime, they will need a second all-star to complement him.

        Fortunately, there are some options on the horizon. 2018 free agency has several players that might work out, foremost among them Cousins, who could be plugged into Randle’s PF slot, or Westbrook who may also be available.

        If Boston selects Fultz, they will then probably think about trading Isiah Thomas before his current contract expires.

        If George is traded for before next February, I would hope that Magic & Pelinka have the trade moxie to work a deal would include either Deng or Mozgov.

        At some point, Indiana will surely recognize the writing on the wall and solicit all offers to try to get a decent return for George (rather than lose him for nothing).

        At that point, we need to accept the fact that Boston can put together a much more attractive trade package than the Lakers can. And, as mentioned previously, once he gets there and becomes a part of a winning culture, he is less likely to leave.

        Hopefully, Indiana dallies until next February’s trade deadline, where there will be a greater chance that Boston moves on to other players. The Pacers know that. So, I’m guessing that as soon as the Celtics have their 2017 free agent object(s) in the fold, they will look at available trades–with George & Butler reportedly being their two biggest interests.

        Therefore, it still seems about 50/50 whether the Lakers end up with Paul George!


    • To quote Darius again, “teams aren’t stupid”.You think the Pacers ain’t listening to all the chatter? The Pacers arent going to just roll over and give up PG for a Kwame Brown and a Javaris Cricheton. They are going to demand a king’s ransom and the Lakers are in no position to give up assets. They do that and then what? Have our superstar all right, on a crappy team. Back to square one for both the Lakers and George. If George wants to come to LA that bad he can wait one more summer. That way we can get him without gutting the team and can move foward not running in place which is all a trade would do.


    • I agree, it feels like coordinated pressure is being applied right now. It should be obvious to IND, if the two camps (PG, LAL) can work together to apply pressure, they can also do what they threaten, a $150m UFA deal in 2018. PG is young enough where he can get a second laker contract, which would pay well for that same 5th year and future ones, too. [that’s why you pay Kobe the extra $50mil, so that PG knows the Lakers always pay their debts!!]

      Even 3-4 lesser (non-lottery) Laker assets are better than one more futile year of PG losing to Lebron and then walking, not to mention the locker room distraction next year, pointlessly delaying the inevitable rebuild. If they now try to trade him elsewhere and he refuses to commit to the new team, letting them know indeed he’s going Hollywood in 2018, Indiana loses all leverage and PG leaves for free. It behooves IND to consider a LAL sole sourced low ball offer. No wonder Bird didn’t want to be there – having to utterly capitulate to Magic and the Lakers (out of all people and franchises) as the best/only remaining move for your franchise.


  9. Being a Lakers fan since the Showtime days and being ridiculously spoiled by the franchise’s winning ways, we have to exercise patience as in 3-4 years time.

    Here are the reasons why.

    1. We are not going to be ready to compete with the Warriors, Spurs, Cavs and the other second tier good teams like Wizards, Houston and Boston as the kids need more time to mature and grow physically and mentally. A lot of these guys are from the one and done era. Ingram and Zubac just finished his rookie year (both are 19), DLo (21), Nance Jr. their second, Randle (22) his second (lost a year due to injury). These guys are still really young.

    2. With Paul George, even if he was on the team, his presence could stunt the growth of Ingram. Is he really the type of leader this young team needs? Does he want to spend his prime years in L.A. and only to be frustrated with the development time of the youth.

    3. Trading for PG will strip the team of talent and depth while still saddled with those horrific Deng/ Mozgov contracts. For those impatient fans, do you want to witness a growing squad that will mature and compete by the time the Warriors/ Cavs era are done or a frustrated PG led team of outcasts with Mozgov/Deng are still with the team while regretting that will traded most of the youth away. Because this is what we did with the Nash trade and it continues to bite us in the butt.

    4. The reason the Lakers want star power such as PG is to sell tickets and keep the advertisers/ sponsors happy. But we will be left with a middling underachieving team if we trade for him.

    5. The FO still need cap space once the kids’ rookie contracts are up. I don’t know the exact numbers but I’m sure there needs to be some room for their cap holds for the next 3 years.

    6. The 3 year window is where we should be realistically looking at since A: those two terrible contracts will come off the books, B: the kids hopefully will be more mature and developed by then as a team, C: If we can get PG next year via Free Agency, he’ll be in year 2 of his Lakers tenure, just around the time that the kids are getting better, D: we can sign better FAs or make better trades because we’ll have cap space again and E: I expect the team to be a consistent playoff team by then with the WC Semis or WC Finals as the goals by that time because of all those things above barring any serious injuries.

    A lot has to go right in order for us to get back to our winning ways. These are the current rules of the league where they stress team building. Hopefully our winning tradition can be restore if we exercise patience while being realistic with the team’s development.


    • IF the Lakers draft Lonzo Ball, there there will be lots of interest, business-wise – if only for the next year – to see how he will fit in. He is different and his dad provides the drama so necessary in Los Angeles.

      Therefore, we don’t really need PG to provide ‘star power’ for next year. I would love to have PG this summer, but I am willing to wait for the trade deadline next year if Indy refuses to make a deal.

      Let’s keep our powder dry regarding trade deals this summer.


  10. Darius, I believe you wrote a good posting in early March on the Lakers’ cap and how it affects signing free agents. In that piece you talked about stretch optioning Mosgov. If you have time I was wondering:

    1) any chance you’ll update that entry factoring in Ball as the likely choice and what this means for assets you would likely trade after adding Ball? (My assumption is Clarkson is moved as he would be wanted and clears room. I’m fond of his game and lack of drama so am a bit bummed about this but it seems to make too much sense to stop if you think the starting lineup a season later is Ball, Ingram and George as 1, 2/3, 2/3. Clarkson wouldn’t get the minutes his contract costs.)

    2) on stretch optioning Deng / Mosgov … assuming you stretch Mosgov this year, are there rules against a traded player being immediately stretched? Your piece in March made it seem the Lakers can’t stretch both contracts but I’m wondering if Deng could be sent with Clarkson or another player to a team in need and have that team stretch Deng. I assume the stretch provision has lots of barriers to this but if cash considerations from the Lakers are allowed then this needs to get done.

    3) you wrote a recent post on Russell that was interesting. While I have been disappointed in Russell, I have to admit he seemed to improve quite a bit and may work well with Walton. But this leads me to Randle. There are enough flashes where the upside seems quite high, but beyond some bright games, as a whole he doesn’t seem to be flourishing to the level expected under Walton’s system. In fact, typically I grown “put Nance back in there” a lot when Randle is playing. So what do you think of Randle and then what do you think the Lakers will do with his contract?