Well this seems like it’s getting more and more real. It has been well documented over the past couple of days that Paul George is at least considering signing with the Lakers in 2018, and some fans wanted the Lakers to trade for him right now, especially if he would be willing to sign an extension. However, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Lakers were told not to trade their core for Indiana’s franchise player. He said this on his podcast:
“The direction I was told the Lakers got here in the last couple days was: ‘Hey don’t gut your team to go get Paul George’. Magic Johnson did lob a call to Larry Bird. But if you’re the Lakers and you don’t have a tremendous amount of assets — they have some young players that they hope will develop. They’re going to sit back and wait to sign him as a free agent. They’ll have cap space in 2018, because if they were to try to trade for him, well, they were going to have to give up the core of their team and then Paul George, he’s going to have no one to play with.”
This was always my logic. I did not want to trade for George. I would rather wait, and it seems that someone else agrees. Woj never clarified who advised the team against a trade, but if this is from Paul George’s camp then it is HUGE. It would show that the leaked interest in the Lakers is more than just a ploy by his agent. It’s not unreasonable to think that it could be from George’s camp. George specifically complimented Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell during their time with the USA Select team over the summer. He has also said he wants to win more than anything. Maybe he feels Russell, Ingram, and Randle along with Zubac, Nance, and Clarkson can give him a shot at winning, especially after a year and a half more to develop. There are really no other camps that this could come from, except the Lakers or the Pacers themselves. But why would Woj phrase it in such a way if this was internal advice to Magic? And why would the Pacers tell a team not to give them more assets?
If it did come from his camp, this is very exciting. It cements the reports of Paul George’s interest in LA and makes it sound like he is the Lakers most attainable star in a long time.