Paul George is heading into the offseason with an uncertain future with the Indiana Pacers, a team he has played for since getting drafted in 2010. He is reportedly angling for a homecoming in Los Angeles whether via trade or free agency despite the resignation of Pacers president Larry Bird.
According to Sam Amick of USA Today Sports, George's desire to leave Indiana and come home to Hollywood has not changed even with Bird's departure. He is "hell bent" in playing for the Lakers and it was an open secret in the Pacers' locker room all throughout the season.
"Whether in free agency two summers from now or via trade before then, the four-time All-Star is still hell-bent on joining the Los Angeles Lakers. Maybe now more than ever," Amick reported.
"Bird's decision to step aside has no impact on how George sees the Pacers situation. He has the utmost respect for Larry Legend, who was known to be looking to spend more time with his wife and family and will now serve as a consultant for the organization," he added.
George is going to be a free agent at the end of the 2017-18 NBA season when he opts out of his contract with the Pacers. It would be better for Indiana to trade him now than lose him for free in free agency. The Pacers could also trade him at next season's trade deadline but his value won't be as high as this summer.
Teams like the Boston Celtics, Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks and many more teams will surely have an offer for George. However, he would be just a one-year rental because of his desire to play wear purple and gold.
As for the Lakers, they are in a great position to acquire a superstar like George. They can either trade for him or wait for a year to sign him in free agency. Waiting one more season poses a potential risk so it would be better for the Lakers to trade for him.
According to Eric Pinus of Bleacher Report, new Lakers president Magic Johnson wants George in Los Angeles. He has the combination of young players and draft picks to get "PG13" from the Pacers this offseason.
Pinus added that either Luol Deng or Timofey Mozgov will be included in the deal to balance out the salaries. A combination of Deng/Mozgov, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance is a start but the Lakers could also go all-in and trade Brandon Ingram, D'Angelo Russell and the 2017 first round pick.
Johnson and the Lakers have to be careful in acquiring George for too many assets. They will just turn into the Pacers, a good but not great team that will surely lose in the first round of the playoffs.
However, there might be another potential way for George to play in Los Angeles. Arthur Hill of Hoops Rumors believes that the Clippers could acquire "PG13" from the Pacers in a sign-and-trade deal involving Blake Griffin, who is going to be a free agent this summer.
"Paul George's desire to play in L.A. has become an open secret around the league, and this could be the Clippers' chance to land him before the Lakers do. George, who turns 27 this week, would be a new young star for the Clippers, while the Pacers could build around a formidable front line featuring Griffin and Myles Turner," Hill noted.
It should be pointed out that these are just rumors at the moment. These are still suggestive and speculative and should be taken with a grain of salt. This summer is going to be interesting and Paul George drama is a must-watch for every basketball fan.