Tuesday’s trade of D’Angelo Russell by the Lakers seemed to signal a shift of focus from the future to the present. With a Paul George trade seemingly on the horizon and the Pacers likely to deal George before the draft.
However, per Nate Taylor of the Indianapolis Star, the Pacers may not be motivated to move George prior to the draft anymore.
An Indiana Pacers’ trade involving Paul George being completed before Thursday’s NBA draft doesn’t appear imminent. The Pacers, according to multiple league sources, are considering multiple trade offers for George, but the team doesn’t feel pressure to get a deal done by Thursday.
Taylor goes on to list the Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Wizards and the Los Angeles Clippers along with the Lakers. He also talks about the unwillingness by teams to give up much in return for George given that he’s indicated he’ll be a rental for any team not named the Lakers.
The problem with the Lakers’ position currently is that yesterday’s move to attain Brook Lopez and a draft pick while clearing cap space comes across as a precursor to a George trade. The team acquired a third first-rounder which was likely to be used in a George trade.
The most recent reports indicate the Lakers’ offer is that of Jordan Clarkson or Julius Randle plus the 27th and 28th picks of the draft. The Pacers balked at the offer and the Lakers reportedly made a run at acquiring the 5th and 10th picks from the Sacramento Kings in exchange for the second pick, a move that was rebuffed by Vlade Divac and company.
The end result is where we are now. The Lakers and Pacers are at a standstill. Los Angeles’ current offer isn’t enough to appease the Pacers, who want the second pick in the draft despite the Lakers insistence on not including it or Brandon Ingram in a trade.
The best play from the Lakers now is to bunker in and not budge. The longer Indiana waits, the more George’s trade value declines and the worse the return they’ll get for him. Los Angeles should be calling Indiana’s bluff.
But yesterday doesn’t exactly send a resounding vote of confidence to a fanbase still reeling from seeing its best player from last season’s team traded.
With all that in mind, it’s almost a certainty this story will have many more twists in the coming days and hours.