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Trade rumors are heating up and no speculation has been more pronounced than the Lakers’ interest in Paul George. It appears as though the feeling is mutual, more so than even the usual rumors surrounding the Lakers.
LAL kept their top-three protected pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, giving them both a chance at a new prospect and a new trade asset. However, while many believe the Lakers may make a run at George in the trade market, the belief around the league is George is bound for the Lakers next summer.
Per Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical:
For the Lakers, they are pretty confident and have a great deal of belief that they’re in position to get Paul George in 2018 whether he stays in Indiana or is traded elsewhere.
They don’t have to give assets up to go and try to trade for him. In fact, I think they’ve been encouraged to do just the opposite. If Paul George is gonna go there he wants them to have assets, he wants them to be as good of a team as they can when he walks in.
The Lakers/George storylines have been a near-constant since the NBA Trade deadline when the team reportedly made a run at the Pacer All-Star, but were told to hold their assets as George was “hell-bent” on coming to LA.
If one is to believe the public comments from the Lakers’ front office, the team will likely stand pat this off-season and prepare for a 2018 off-season with a much deeper and talented free agency class. Similarly, Rob Pelinka stated the team was unlikely to deal the pick, which would likely be a requirement in any trade for George.
However, if we’ve learned anything in recent months, it’s that the NBA is unpredictable and the next few months will likely be full of uncertainty and rumors. Lots and lots of rumors.