The Lakers didn’t nab Paul George … not yet, anyhow.
The All-Star forward will be a free agent in the summer of 2018, and is reportedly “hell-bent” on forcing his way to Los Angeles.
I repeat: Paul George – barring a title chance in Indy – is hell-bent on heading for Laker Land. This message has been sent throughout NBA.
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) February 23, 2017
The Indiana Pacers rejected overtures for their franchise player prior to Thursday’s trade deadline, but it remains to be seen how long they can hang on to him.
Per USA Today:
Paul George stayed put on Thursday, when Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird decided against trading his 26-year-old star, and NBA fanbases from Boston to Los Angeles surely reached for the antidepressants when the deadline passed.
This was the kind of blockbuster move that would have changed the balance of power in the Eastern Conference, where the Celtics wanted to pair George with fellow All-Star Isaiah Thomas and come full force at the Cleveland Cavaliers. It could have ramped up the rebuild for the Lakers and their new top front office boss, Magic Johnson, who knows full well that George – a Palmdale, Calif. native and lifelong Lakers fan – is determined to sign there as a free agent in the summer of 2018 if the Pacers can’t find a way to contend for a title again. Add in the fact that George was clearly displeased with how the deadline went, and you have all the makings of the NBA’s latest superstar saga.
Fast forward to Thursday, when Bird came up short in his attempts to find help for George and his Pacers team that is currently sixth in the East (29-28). What’s more, both George and Johnson would be well-advised to learn lessons from the Carmelo Anthony saga that continues to unfold. In situations like these, patience and a pragmatic approach are often the way.