Paul George to the Lakers Rumors are Now On Fire

Darius Soriano —  June 18, 2017

Before today, the Paul George to the Lakers’ rumors were a case of “where there’s smoke there’s fire”. Multiple reports of George “wanting” to play for the Lakers and “strongly considering” returning to his southern California roots when he hit free agency in the summer of 2018.

On Sunday, however, the George rumors became a case of “look at that fire over there!” That’s because the innuendo and suspicion has been replaced with a hard statement from George to Pacers’ management. Well, at least that’s what Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting:

All-Star forward Paul George has informed the Indiana Pacers that he plans to become a free agent in the summer of 2018 and will leave the franchise – preferably for the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources told The Vertical…

…In the past 24 hours, Pritchard has become more aggressive in pursuing trades for George, league sources told The Vertical. Pritchard has yet to show an inclination to engage the Lakers, but has discussed deals with several teams – including Cleveland – in which the expectation of teams would be that George is a “one-year rental.” The Cavaliers are devoid of the kind of young players and future picks that Indiana might want in return for George, and George has never mentioned the Cavaliers as an intriguing destination.

Wait, there’s more:

George plans to play out the 2017-18 season with Indiana, but wants to give the organization the chance to plan appropriately for its future – which George told the team won’t include him, league sources said.

George’s desire to join the Lakers has massive repercussions on the free-agent market in 2018. Under president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka, George would represent the first NBA star in years to choose the Lakers in free agency. As Los Angeles’ management reshapes its roster, George could be a lure to recruit other top available players to the Lakers.

Between then and now, the pressure will mount for the Pacers to formulate a trade with the Lakers in the near future, because the risk of losing a star of George’s stature for nothing next summer is potentially devastating. If management takes George at his word about wanting to join the Lakers in 2018, it may be cornered into making the best possible trade it can with Los Angeles now, squeezing whatever value out of the Lakers that Indiana can acquire in a deal for George.

Okay, let’s take this piece by piece.

First, recent reports had George saying him and Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard were on the same page and that George believed Pritchard understood what types of players he should acquire to play next to George. This led to George (again, reportedly) saying he planned to play in Indy next season, that his goal of bringing a championship to the Pacers was still real, and, based on all this, that the Pacers had zero intention of trading George. Based on Woj’s report, then, one has to wonder how real those other reports were. Did George have a change of heart?

Second, I think the Pacers are right to engage other teams in trades before engaging the Lakers. The Pacers know what kind of offers they’re going to get from the Lakers — terrible ones. I think Ramona Shelburne said it best:

I mean, do the Pacers want Deng or Mozgov’s contract and two 2nd round picks? Because, in theory, that’s what the Lakers would be offering. Or, if not that exact type of deal, a variation of it. There’s simply no need for the Lakers to give up anything of value at this stage…or, really, ever. What could change that, though?

Well, I think that’s what the Pacers would be trying to get to by engaging other teams in trade discussions. If they can show the Lakers FO that other teams are putting together viable offers which would be significantly better than what (the Lakers) are offering, could that move the needle and grease the wheels for a Lakers/Pacers trade directly? While I think that’s still somewhat unlikely, it could happen of the team trading for George is an upper tier playoff team which would, in theory, have the talent and culture to entice George to stay on long term rather than bolt for LA next summer.

The question is, would any playoff team really make a significant offer? And could it really be any playoff team or would it need to be a top tier team that has a chance to compete for a championship? If it’s the latter, I would think only the Cavs, Celtics, Spurs, and Rockets qualify today. And, when looking at those teams, would any of them really make a significant offer? I don’t know the answer to that, but if I’m more than happy to wait and see.

And, ultimately, I guess that’s where I am right now — which, if you’ve been following this site, is where I’ve been for some time. Even before Woj’s report, I saw no need to give up anything of value for George. The Lakers, while building up a nice young core of players, are still too asset poor to surrender even one of their core 4 lottery picks (Randle, Russell, Ingram, this year’s #2 pick) in a trade, much less two of them. They could, in theory, dangle Jordan Clarkson, but these recent reports would move me away from that option right now.

So, it’s really just waiting and seeing what materializes out of Indy and waiting for them to make the call to Magic and Pelinka. If that call never comes, so be it. I’d be more than willing to wait this out until next summer, even taking my chances if one of those top tiered teams executes a deal. The Lakers aren’t necessarily in the driver’s seat here, but it seems they have enough leverage to let a deal come to them rather than rushing out to try to make one themselves.


Darius Soriano

Posts Twitter Facebook

34 responses to Paul George to the Lakers Rumors are Now On Fire

  1. Hong Kong Lakers fan June 18, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    Darius, the question is whether the Lakers will have to say farewell to Randle or Clarkson to fit in Paul George as a free agent in one year. If yes, why shouldn’t the Lakers trade Randle or Clarkson to get Paul George now?

    6+

  2. Deng / Mozgov and the #28 pick, plus by a 2nd rounder for PG is about the max I would go. Then we would pick the #28 & #46/50 for Indy (buy one of the 76er four 2nd round picks) and the trade would be completed after the draft.

    Even without any trade I like purchasing one or two of the 76er 2nd round picks and selecting players we brought in this spring.

    3+

  3. Randall Clarkson and Mozgov will do it. Otherwise better hope he still wants to be here in a year

    3+

  4. Darius: With JW now with Clippers,do you see a possibility they make some moves to enter the bidding for PG,this year or next?

    1+

  5. Mozgof and 2nd Rd (17 & 19) and you got a deal. We need to unload Mozgof or Deng to fit PG and LeBron next summer

    0

  6. I’d trade Clarkson for PG. Otherwise the Lakers risk trading needed assets. In other words the Lakers will end up signing him in free agency next summer.

    No one will take Mozgov/Deng without significant sweeteners which again would drain needed assets. Jim/Mitch were idiots.

    2+

  7. I think there is a misread that LAL wouldn’t give up “anything of significance” to get PG now cuz they can (supposedly) get him later as FA. First, if he is traded as a rental to say Clips or Cleveland, he might find himself liking it and reevaluate that decision and then you lose him. Second, by having him on the team NOW, it increases possibility that other quality FA over the next two years would want to come to LA, rather than trying to land him AND another FA in a year. He’s a big selling point to other FA, in other words. Third, LAL have a lot of great young talent but some of it replicates itself land not enough PT for everybody and they need an Alpha no matter what, in all scenarios. They CAN afford to trade a piece of the young core under certain conditions and still keep the best of it intact. Specifically, I would say Clarkson and Nance would get it done. Indiana likely can’t get much better value NOW from teams that view him as a likely rental–two very good young players who are already developing nicely. That would be a win-win: Lose Clarkson but gain George and bring in Lonzo Ball. Lose Nance but have a chance to draft a PF with the 28th pick if you keep it, or resign a quality guy in Thomas Robinson who needs more PT anyway and you have Randle anyway. Maybe throw in a second round future pick. Pacers get better value than they will likely get now, LAL gets PG, Laker core mostly intact (youth core), and Clarkson and Nance have big roles going forward in Indiana. I wouldn’t give the #2 pick no matter what, or Ingram or Russell, but there are other pieces better than what Indiana can probably get for a mere rental if he really is that set on going to LA. So how true is the Woj report. If accurate, they could definitely get it done.

    6+

    • You don’t gI’ve up Nance. You give them Clarkson, the 28th pick, and buy one of the 76ers 2nd round pick, and Deng to send to Indiana but not Nance. I might send Randle because he has a tendency to slack off on some games but you get energy from Nance all games

      0

  8. WOW, a great development. You are a good writer! The Pacers will explore all options prior to contacting the Lakers. There is no way the Pacers will entertain thoughts for any player like Moz or Deng because they cost to much, they would be better off with nobody and plenty of cash.

    I’ve grown weary of the “let’s move Clarkson” conversation because he is a very durable player, averaging more than 70 games a year. I would rather keep a player that will play every game, than keep Russell who might miss 30 with knee problems. Perhaps there is a way to trade Russell and Moz to some other NBA team for a draft pick, thus paving the way for Paul George. Wonder if the Knicks would be interested, Russell could run Phil’s triangle, Moz has history back there on the East coast?

    If the Lakers can attract one free agent like George, are anymore free agents interested? I guess I keep saying the same thing, clearing the two expensive contracts is a real priority?.

    Exciting new Lakers leadership, #2 & #28 draft picks, Paul George news today and the team entering next season playing to win instead of tank. Young players with another year of experience… I don’t want to get to far out front of things, but how can anyone not be optimistic about the future.

    0

    • The reason you include Clarkson is because the Lakers realistically need to move 2 of the following 3 players to free up cap space to be players in 2018: Clarkson, Mozgov, and Deng. Trading both Moz and Deng would be extremely difficult so Clarkson salary becomes a necessary trade piece.

      2+

  9. Indy is not going to accept Deng or Mosgov plus a mediocre asset for Paul George. That would be a worse option for Indy than getting nothing in return, essentially a negative return on investment.

    1+

  10. I think the lakers are making a play for Gordon hayward too. If he and George are in contact I think the lakers would give up Russel, randle, #28 and deng for george. In essence that would be a trade for Gordon and George. Not bad. Imagine this lineup:
    Ball
    Hayward
    George
    Ingram
    Zubac

    3+

  11. Clarkson + Black for PG. Clarkson is under contract for 3 more years and would likely push 20 pts/game if given the opportunity. Black can be waived as his 2017/18 contract is not guaranteed or the Pacers can keep him and get a high energy front court player for the rotation.

    That’s not a bad return for having your back against the wall.

    4+

  12. May be just wishful thinking but i think Hayward and George are in contact. I would give up Russel, randle, #28 and deng for George and then sign Hayward. In essence you get this lineup for the trade
    Ball
    Hayward
    George
    Ingram
    Zubac

    2+

    • KP, that is far too much to give up and virtually guarantees that PG leaves as a free agent next summer. Hayward is Boston bound.

      1+

      • Idk, there will be a point where we can’t sign them all anyway. I would even consider trading #2 for #5 and #10. And taking dennis smith or whatever pg is there at #5 and still have the #10 pick with the trade I mentioned

        0

  13. The idea that the Pacers would consider trading PG for a huge negative asset like Deng and a couple 2nd rounders (which any team can basically just buy) shows why fan bases think us Laker fans are delusional. Pacers would be better off letting George walk for nothing or wait until the trade deadline this year to see if a team will give up assets on the idea PG is the missing piece.

    The Pacers play is to get a preliminary deal done with a team like the Cavs before the draft and basically ask the Lakers, “Are you sure George is gonna walk away from Lebron? Let’s talk real assets now for PG”

    1+

  14. The Celtics could easily win a rental for George, but they’d clearly prefer FA Howard first, and maybe a trade for Jimmy Butler second. Even if those fail, do they want a rental?

    I can’t imagine San Antonio wanting George.

    If the Cavs offer something like JR Smith and Shumpert, if Houston offers Ryan Anderson, I think the Lakers could easily compete.

    Anybody else?

    Time will tell.

    0

  15. I’m in the camp where I think the Lakers should not make a trade unless Indy is willing to take on Mozgov/Deng and filler (aka they lose all sanity and reason). While it’s possible that Paul George may change his mind in a year, it’s a risk the Lakers need to take. Right now, the Lakers do not have enough assets piled up to give up any unnecessary value. Especially for a player who is making it clear that he wants to come to the Lakers.

    3+

  16. Regardless what else we say PG is not the #1 player on a championship team. This reason argues for waiting another year to see if one of our players starts to look like a #1 Alpha player. Ingram and Russell and possibly Ball are the only ones I think could fill those shoes, so – if we trade for PG – we should definitely not give up any of those three players IMO.

    1+

  17. Kamenetzky Brothers Retweeted

    Bobby Marks?Verified account @BobbyMarks42 11h11 hours ago

    Lakers right at $15.6m in room (18-19) when you factor in their 2 first rd. picks this year and renouncing free agents except for Randle.

    Kamenetzky Brothers Retweeted

    Bobby Marks?Verified account @BobbyMarks42 11h11 hours ago

    Keep in mind that the Lakers do not have max money ($30.6) next summer to sign Paul George outright.

    0

  18. This development with Paul George is quite interesting. It would seem that the Lakers could now get Paul George via trade for a lot less than trying to trade for Jimmy Butler. Ultimately, I think the Lakers would be a lot sacrificing their young talent for some better and more developed players. This would be difficult because all-stars have higher salary levels than our young players on their rookie contracts. So, we would have to add players like Luol Deng or Timofey Mozgov, but they aren’t worth their contract values. This is why the decision to not use Deng and Mozgov down the stretch was a huge mistake. Those two should have been showcased over the last 25 or 30 games in order to show the rest of the league that they could be used in such a way to justify their salary levels.

    There are many reasons to rebuild the team, but only one reason to keep all the young talent and build for the future. That reason is to wait-out the Cleveland, Golden State, and San Antonio runs. However, if the Lakers do this, Minnesota and Philadelphia might be just as hard to beat several years down the road. Plus, who knows what kind of “superteams” might come together. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that these young players will pan out. Remember the Clippers of the late-80s and early 90s? That team basically peaked as a .500 team that only made the playoffs twice as a 7-seed and lost in the first round both times. Perhaps they all do become good players, but can’t work together and have to be traded. Think about the Dallas Mavs of the mid-90s with Jason Kidd, Jimmy Jackson, and Jamal Mashburn. One other thought on keeping the young guys: the Lakers reputation is in the gutter. Good free-agents don’t want to come here, which makes the rebuilding process entirely dependent on the drafted players.

    I believe that the best option is to use the entire roster to trade for our own big-three. This would help us rehabilitate the franchise reputation, attract good free-agents, and get to a 55-win season this coming year. Here’s what I would suggest:

    1) Trade DeAngelo Russell, Luol Deng, and the #2 pick in the draft to Washington for John Wall, Markieff Morris, and some future 1st round picks.

    2) Trade Julius Randle and Timofey Mozgov to Detroit for Andre Drummond.

    3) Trade Brandon Ingram, Tarik Black, and Corey Brewer to Chicago for Jimmy Butler. If Chicago won’t deal, then we can seek a trade with Indiana for Paul George. Given the news on Paul George, the Lakers probably wouldn’t have to include Ingram in the deal, but might have to give Indiana a future draft pick.

    4) Trade future draft picks and Tyler Ennis to acquire a pick in the 10 to 15 range for this draft. I would select Justin Jackson of North Carolina. I believe he would be a great fit for this team and is underrated.

    5) Use the 28th pick to draft Nigel Williams Goss of Gonzaga. He is also underrated by scouts. I feel he is a young Deron Williams and will be a fine player in the NBA.

    6) With this new team, it will be easier to attract good free-agents to fill out the roster. I would go after Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston of Golden State. Secondary choices would be Jonathon Simmons of the Spurs, Thabo Sefolosha of Atlanta, and Tony Snell of the Bucks. At backup point guard, I would try to get Aaron Brooks of Indiana.

    This would give the Lakers the chance to use Larry Nance Jr. as the starting power forward and use him like an A.C. Green or Kurt Rambis type of player. We would need to teach Drummond how to shoot free throws (his routine is awful and explains his low FT%).

    Here’s what we could have for next season:

    Starting lineup: John Wall, Andre Iguodala, (Jimmy Butler or Paul George), Larry Nance Jr., and Andre Drummond.

    2nd unit: Aaron Brooks, Jordan Clarkson, Thabo Sefolosha, Markieff Morris, and Ivica Zubac.

    This gives us an excellent team and allows us to immediately compete and rebuild our reputation.

    0

  19. I can’t see giving up assets for any free agent? I can see giving up assets for a player like Porzingas who IS under contract.

    0

  20. I would offer Clarkson, Mozgov, and the Lakers 2020 1st round pick for PG and Al Jefferson. Jefferson’s contract is only partially guaranteed beyond next year giving the Lakers the flexibility they need in 2018. I think a trade for PG deserves a 1st rounder. The 2020 pick being the only one they should consider offering at this point unless they can work out a trade down when then they might be able to make a better offer. I would not trade PG for Moz and 2nd rounders if I were Indy. They would be better off staying pat. So this is how I would sweeten the offer.

    2+

    • This may be a logical aspiration price but the reservation price is likely higher. What if the Pacers say, include LNJ in that trade and it’s done, else he goes to the Cavs? I’d hate that but probably would include him. Or same deal without Moz/Jeff included, so add Brewer to match salaries: JC, LNJ, Brewer, and 2020 1st. Pacers say, add the #28 and then we are really done. We still do it. Just about anything that doesn’t cut into muscle: BI, Zu, JR/DAR (same agent as PG), #2 are off limits, all the rest probably in play.

      1+

  21. Crazy. Apparently nobody remembers Kevin Love coming to the Lakers either… If you can grab a guy like PG, you do it. Too much van happen to derail it.

    What happens if/when PG gets selected to 3rd team all nba for the Pacers? Does he still turn down $210 million for an max LA free agent $140 million deal? Because NOBODY HAS EVER done that in the NBA.

    I agree that Lakers have some leverage and can’t afford to give up assets like Ingram, Russell or the #2… But everything else should be on the table. That means Randle, #28, and whatever Indiana wants from Clarkson, Nance and Zubac.

    Randle isn’t relevant when you get Paul George, isn’t valuable in an offense emphasizing outside shooting and quick call movement, and will be needing an extension they won’t give in a year anyhow.

    Problem is, I think both Randle and PG have the same agent, so it’s tricky. But has to be done.

    4+

  22. After the Dwight howard Bet,Mistake ,Pain and Betrayal,NO WAY POSSIBLE do you rent a player.The one asset that the lakers have a ton of is cash.If you have to get this guy Right NOW.What if he goes down with a Injury?What if he doesn’t really like the FO and Pressure.Without a sign and trade this is Franchise Russian Rulett.Stay the Course.

    0

  23. If Indiana things PG is dictating terms and wants to go the Lakers, thats the last place they will trade him unless the Lakers offer the most. The Lakers better be able to beat offers from Boston, San Antonio, and Cleveland, and maybe even the Clippers or they wont get him. Its about teams getting close to try and beat the Warriors in one year. the rest of the teams are rebuilding until GS gets old or infights. Look even Boston gave up the number one pick for an extra top pick and they are the second best team in the East. The Lakers cant afford to overpay but need a superstar. Lets see what Magic does. He can mess things up quite easily especially if Ball is a bust.

    1+

  24. Russell, Randle and PG all have the same agent. I don’t think Russell and/or Randle will be included in any deal for PG.

    2+

  25. I agree with some of the people saying that the Lakers fan base is somewhat delusional when it comes to some the trade scenarios that I have read in various forums.

    Let’s be REAL everyone! If you ran a business like that, your business will fold super quick. Yes, the salaries have to match, and yes we have to somehow get rid of the bad contracts but Indy is a small market team and less likely to accept it unless our team offers to pay for a huge amount of salary to go with the deal. I’m not exactly sure how that works in terms of the salary cap. Perhaps someone with cap knowledge can enlighten us.

    By all accounts the rumor is that LeBron is most likely leaving Cleveland after next year since he brought a championship to Cleveland. He has various interests out here in L.A. and the likely scenario is one of the L.A. teams. Depending on how the Clippers/ Jerry West retain or build the team (I think the only way LeBron goes to the Clips is if they can somehow bring the Banana boat crew together), there’s a 50/50 chance of LeBron coming to the Lakers. But do we really want LeBron/ PG while stunting the growth of the youth? I would be torn because you need stars like them to win and at the same time as we saw in the last two years of Kobe’s time here, the youth movement/ skill development was delayed.

    Whatever happens I’m sure Magic and Rob have multiple scenarios on a whiteboard/ worksheet and will go about it accordingly. This week will give us a great indication as to the direction of where we will be heading. We almost had a chance of getting Fultz until Philly blew that up. We can also screw up Boston by taking Jackson and that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing either because he can guard multiple positions. We can stick him on the opposing team’s elite guards while hiding DLo on the opposing team’s least effective offensive player just like the Warriors do with Curry. But JJ isn’t an elite offensive player like Lonzo so I guess we’ll wait until Thursday to see how it goes down.

    I understand the logic about risking PG into liking another team’s culture but if PG is thinking L.A. since last year, the more likely scenario is him coming to the Lakers via free agency next year. As far as Hayward is concerned, it seems like Ainge has built the team to integrate him onto the team seamlessly and have the space to do so. Besides, his wife is already hinting it on her Instagram page.

    Also PG is training with Kobe and if he is in L.A., he’ll be training with the Mamba for years to come and be provided the blueprint to a Hall of Fame career. Who wouldn’t want that type of training?

    I would wait a year unless a great deal can be had where we can shed some salary while adding PG’s salary to the books. Also the prizes of next year’s FA class should be pretty solid, guys like LeBron, Cousins, Jokic, LaVine (RFA) will be available. I see brighter days ahead for us and I am very excited for the direction we are heading compared to the last four years where we are all biting our nails in hopes of keeping our picks, hahahaha.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

    2+

    • For the ’17-’18 season, evidently each team can pay out a total of up to $3.6 million in cash considerations and can receive up to $3.6 million in cash considerations. Obviously chump change compared to the types of transactions we are talking about. Incidentally, this also explains why first round draft picks are no longer bought and sold – they are considerably more valuable than $3.X million each!

      0

  26. I never post on here, but l wanted to point out that if/when PG leaves, Indiana is not a playoff team, and won’t be one or a contender for a while. It might be in their best interests to take one bad contract, so that they CAN get higher draft picks. I don’t know what their future draft pick situation is… but I am sure that they are better off getting a lottery pick next year than another middle of the road 1st rounder. If PG13 leaves them, so does Jeff Teague, who’s a decent player still at this juncture and I believe is an unrestricted free agent. Indiana may have to face the fact that they just need to rebuild around their only good young player, Myles Turner… and that means getting other good young assets. They may be forced to accept one of Deng/Mozgov and perhaps the 28th, a future first rounder, and a couple of second rounders. If the Lakers can get this done, then losing a future first rounder may be acceptable as we have been drafting well in the later rounds and this would make getting other quality free agents more feasible since you’d have Paul George and a growing young core of players plus this year’s #2 pick.

    1+