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After a week of chasing Paul George in the trade market leading up to the 2017 NBA Draft, it appears the Lakers are not anticipating acquiring George in a trade this off-season.
To be smart in free agency, the Lakers also have set their eyes on two realities. The Lakers are not expecting to acquire George from the Indiana Pacers amid their insistence on keeping Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. With their hopes set on George becoming available next summer, the Lakers want to pursue players who fit specific criteria that would accelerate the young roster’s development.
One week ago, the Pacers were reportedly likely to trade George prior to the draft. However, as the draft approached and passed, a trade was “no longer imminent.” While it sounds like the Pacers are still motivated to move George, it won’t be done soon and it appears it won’t involve the Lakers.
This isn’t the worst case scenario for the Lakers, who have positioned themselves with enough cap space in 2018 to sign two max free agents. With George’s desire to play in Los Angeles well-known, it’s unlikely that changes in the next 12 months.
That being said, the most recent reports on George indicate he’s not against signing an extension with a team he’s traded to, according to Sam Amick of the USA Today. That report would directly conflict with the other reports stating that George’s camp is telling teams he will be nothing more than a rental and he will go to L.A. next summer.
Add it all up and it’s a cluster of reports, rumors and leaks and can the summer of 2018 just be here already?