The Los Angeles Lakers are “in the process of trying to land” Indiana Pacers star forward Paul George, according to USA Today’s Sam Amick, who also reported that the “landscape is complicated elsewhere, too, in large part because of (George’s) desire to sign with the Lakers if the Pacers experience simply doesn’t pan out.”
If you’re wearing a Kobe Bryant jersey right now and jumping up and down, there’s more, via The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
Quote - "For teams considering a trade for George, here’s the risk: As a free agent in the summer of 2018, he has considered re-signing with Indiana or joining his hometown Los Angeles Lakers, sources tell The Vertical.
"Teams trading for George run the risk of losing the four-time All-Star to a Lakers franchise that will have the salary-cap space to sign him in 2018. The Lakers’ hiring of Magic Johnson as president of basketball operations will be an interesting twist to George’s free-agent recruitment, given that Johnson has been something of a George family icon going back to George’s childhood in nearby Palmdale, Calif."
George has said publicly and privately that he wants to win a championship in Indiana, but he is not ready to commit to signing an extension this summer, even if he makes an All-NBA team and qualifies for the designated player exception.
George had a taste of postseason success a few years ago, making the conference finals with the Pacers in 2013 and 2014. Since then, Indiana has almost completely turned over its roster, and it is now barely over .500. He wants to win, and he has put pressure on the front office to get him help.
The Pacers are in a tough position -- they could just trade him and start over, or they could continue to make moves on the margins to try to satisfy him. USA Today reported that they have looked at Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor, Sacramento Kings guard Arron Afflalo, Portland Trail Blazers guard Allen Crabbe and Blazers big man Ed Davis.