Ever since the Oklahoma City Thunder traded for Paul George the question was not about how the team would perform, it was whether or not George would like playing there enough to sway his mind on joining the Lakers in the offseason. As we all know by now, before the trade, George was “hell-bent” on coming home to play in Los Angeles.
Following their third straight first-round exit in the Western Conference playoffs, the Thunder may also be losing their star forward in the off-season. It was reported by ESPN’s Ryen Russillo that George was leaving the Thunder but he wasn’t sure which team he would join.
Now, there may be some clarity to which direction George is headed in. On America’s Lakers Podcast, Bill Reiter of CBS Sports spoke with Aaron Larsuel about the upcoming decision.
“I think Paul George is going to come. I think he’s going to come early…I would bet everything I own on the face of the earth that George is going to Los Angeles. I think he’ll do it very quickly in free agency so that he is an important piece,”
He also added how Paul George deciding to join the Lakers early in free agency could be the key to adding that other star free agent the Lakers are interested in.
“If I’m LeBron, Paul George is an enticement. LeBron just experienced the burden of carrying a team…I’m sure Lebron now understands more now than he did before that he needs stars.”
These are concrete quotes about how confident Reiter is that George will be a Laker next year. Hearing these things from someone who has been around the league and its players as long as he has should not be brushed aside.
If George were to make his decision early in free agency to join the Lakers that would certainly be the most ideal scenario for the front office. This would give Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka extra ammunition, along with Luke Walton and the team’s young core, to sell someone like James on joining the purple and gold.
George underwent a procedure on his left knee on Wednesday that will keep him sidelined until near the start of the free agency period.
With just under two months until free agency begins rumors like this will only pick up. The team is heading into the biggest off-season in recent memory and could come away with a new star or two.