Report: Lakers, Pacers have engaged in trade talks for Paul George

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Update:

While nothing is official, yet, Tania Ganguli of the LA Times reports that the second overall pick could be used as a trade chip if a third team is involved.

There’s a lot of ways this could go but one possible cause for this is either the Lakers or Pacers wanting to dump salaries alongside this potential trade.

Original story follows:

In news that felt like an inevitably given news of recent days, the Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers have reportedly engaged in trade talks regarding Paul George prior to Thursday’s draft.

In the article from Stein and Shelburne on the trade, the two talk about the Pacers’ desire for the second pick and the reluctance of the Lakers to give it up.

But sources told ESPN on Tuesday that it remains unclear whether the sides can agree to trade terms before the draft, given Indiana’s desire to acquire the Lakers’ No. 2 overall pick and L.A.’s well-chronicled reluctance to surrender it.

The Lakers have been adamant that they will not part with the No. 2 pick or last season’s No. 2 overall pick Brandon Ingram in a trade for George, knowing that the Pacers’ All-Star hopes to sign with his hometown Lakers as a free agent in July 2018.

One team source went as far Tuesday as saying there’s “zero chance” they’d ‎surrender Thursday night’s No. 2 pick or Ingram.

The flurry of news this week always felt like it would lead to this conclusion. On Sunday, George informed the Pacers he would leave the team in free agency and preferred a move to the Lakers.

In the time since, George’s camp has made it known that he will be nothing more than a rental for the team that trades for him before leaving for the Lakers, news that had been reported in some capacity in the past.

This, however, is the first discussions of a trade between the two sides since the trade deadline in February.

It’s not surprising the two sides again came together to discuss George. The seriousness of the talks, however, is not known. The two teams could simply be touching base with the Pacers seeing just how much they can get out of the Lakers for George.

The Lakers, likewise, could be seeing what the Pacers want for George and whether they’re comfortable with that asking price.

It should be noted that the agent who represents Paul George, Aaron Mintz, also represents both D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle and would, ideally, like all three to be together.

This could amount to the beginning of a blockbuster deal or could simply be a formality with one of the two sides backing out and looking elsewhere. For the Lakers, the incentive to trade for George is low considering how reportedly focused he is on becoming a Laker in 2018.

For the Pacers, dealing him to the Lakers would cut out the middle man and potentially give a nicer package than what other teams might give up knowing that George would be a rental.

Either way, don’t expect this story to go away quietly.

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