For the better part of a year, Paul George signing with the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer of 2018 has been treated as an open secret across the NBA.
Starting around the trade deadline in 2017, carrying through the NBA Draft last summer and through this season, the rumors of George coming back to his home state of California have never stopped.
That extends beyond the NBA media to the players around the league. In a live recording of the Woj Pod by Adrian Wojnarowski, CJ McCollum acknowledged that he expects George to go to L.A.
CJ McCollum: I already tried to get Paul George once. He already turned us down once. You can only shoot your shot so much in the DMs before you have to just give up. He left me on read receipt. But nah, he’s a cool dude. He’s got to do what’s best for his family and he couldn’t control where he went. He ended up getting traded anyway to OKC. I wish him nothing but the best and I’m sure he’ll enjoy that California sunshine.
McCollum: What? It’s the truth.
Whether McCollum is working with inside information or just stating what has been said for the last 12 months and more, it’s interesting to see that players now feel that George will be a Laker.
The Lakers will likely have to still battle teams for George’s services with Philadelphia expected to go after the veteran swingman. However, given George’s history of stating he would have loved to have “gone home” to Los Angeles and Laker fans chanting his name in his last trip to Staples Center, George still seems like an odds-on favorite to come back to Los Angeles, a place where he grew up.
His move could be the first of many dominoes to fall this off-season with the Lakers’ plan of acquiring two max superstars, likely George and LeBron James, still one the team plans on attempting to execute. However, if James does not come, the Lakers may also look to pair Kawhi Leonard with George via trade with the Lakers reportedly making no players untouchable this summer.