The Los Angeles Lakers apparently don’t want to roll the dice on potentially signing Paul George next summer. The Lakers are in trade talks with the Indiana Pacers regarding the four-time All-Star in the hopes of landing George before he becomes a free agent in 2018, ESPN reported Tuesday.
George reportedly told the Pacers he doesn’t plan to re-sign with the only organization he’s played for and hopes to join his hometown Lakers next summer. The Lakers currently hold the No. 2 pick in Thursday’s draft, but one team source told ESPN that there’s “zero chance” the club would include that pick or second-year player Brandon Ingram in a potential deal.
The Lakers, who are expected to take former UCLA star Lonzo Ball with the second pick, have a number of young tradable assets on the roster, including D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson. It’s unclear if the Pacers would part with George, regarded as one of the best two-way players in the league, for a package that did not include this year’s No. 2 pick.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were also reportedly engaged in talks with the Pacers about George on Monday night before the Cavs parted ways with general manager David Griffin. George’s willingness to sign a long-term deal with the Lakers likely leaves other teams less eager to part with valuable assets if the 27-year-old would essentially be a one-year rental.