What many expected about Paul George’s future has been confirmed in a new report by Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. The Pacers superstar not only plans to test free agency when he is eligible to opt out next summer, but ideally join his hometown Los Angeles Lakers.
George, 27, has even informed the Pacers of his plans. They can either trade him or risk losing him in free agency and that appears to be a real risk at this point. It looks like they have no choice.
George made his fourth All-Star team this past season while averaging 23.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5. 8 assists per game. He also shot a career-high 46.1 percent from the field. A three-time All-Defensive team selection, George is one of the best two-way players in the NBA.
The Pacers did make the playoffs this past season and boast a talented young player in Myles Turner, but their season was largely a disappointment. That said, Indiana still offers George a better opportunity to win than the Lakers do.
The Lakers have some nice young players like Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell, plus whoever they take in Thursday’s draft. They have the second overall pick once again and could select Lonzo Ball or Josh Jackson or another potential star.
That could form a solid core, but the Warriors appear to have a stranglehold on the Western Conference for the foreseeable future. George is 27 years old. He could be competing with a Golden State super team for the rest of his prime.
It seems like staying in the East, whether it’s in Indiana or elsewhere, gives George his best chance to win. George is so versatile, he could fit with many teams. The question is which teams can pull off a trade to acquire him.
Will teams like the Celtics with many assets show interest, or will they be scared off by his plans to join the Lakers? The Wizards could use a third star, but do they have the pieces to pull off such a deal? Few teams probably do.
Regardless, the NBA offseason just got more interesting.