As rumors of Paul George’s impending departure from Indiana gain steam, the Lakers find themselves needing to make a decision. Should they continue staying patient in order to sign the LA native as a free agent which is his reported plan? Or should they trade for George now to mitigate the risk of his choosing a different team to play for?
It’s a tougher decision than most think and the Lakers have at least shown some inclination that they may be willing to trade for the star if they feel a better team (like the Cleveland Cavaliers) is swooping in to get him.
What they would offer in such a transaction remains to be seen but according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, both Brandon Ingram and the second overall pick are off limits:
“The Lakers aren’t giving them Brandon Ingram. They aren’t giving them the number two pick. I think what’s realistic is the Lakers say to them ‘Some combination of Clarkson, Randle…and then maybe the 28th pick in this draft.'”
This reasoning falls in line with previous reports and declarations. Magic Johnson has previously claimed that Brandon Ingram is untouchable among the Lakers’ young core while reports have indicated that he shopped Julius Randle for a chance at the top pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
It’s worth noting that Woj doesn’t mention D’Angelo Russell. It’s fair to wonder whether the Lakers’ front office sees him as closer to Ingram or closer to Clarkson and Randle in valuing their young players.
Regardless, it’s promising that Magic and Co. are not rushing to trade for George and keeping a deliberate process in getting George to LA.