The Los Angeles Lakers are seemingly poised to get Paul George one way or another. There are reports that the team has engaged in trade talks for the Pacers’ star but all indications have been that the team prefers to wait until free agency in 2018 to lure the LA native.
The latter path makes the most sense for the Lakers given George’s desire to be a Laker, a desire which, according to Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports, was amplified when the Lakers hired Magic Johnson as President of Basketball Operations:
“The day the Lakers got Magic Johnson, I was told by one of Paul’s people (that) Paul wanted to go to the Lakers before, like now he wants to go even worse. That resonates.”
When the Lakers hired Johnson, this line of feeling across the league was likely a major factor. Magic is a legend and as a former player, he relates more closely to players across the NBA. That should and likely will be a factor in free agency, an area of team building that the Lakers have poorly managed in recent years.
George’s desire has been widely known for some time now and it’s appearing more and more likely that he will get what he wants. The more intriguing question is how Magic will affect other players who may see the Lakers as a more prominent destination now.