Report: Paul George Would Consider Lakers In 2018 Free Agency

With his contract up for renewal at the end of the 2017-18 season, Indiana Pacers forward Paul George has considered a return to his hometown Los Angeles Lakers.

With the trade deadline almost upon us, trades and rumours are popping up everywhere. One of the latest tidbits is that Indiana Pacers’ forward Paul George will both consider re-signing with the Pacers, or signing as a free-agent with his hometown Los Angeles Lakers in the summer of 2018.

According to The Vertical, teams may avoid trading for George prior to this Thursday’s deadline as he may simply opt to sign with the Lakers as a free-agent in the summer of 2018. At present, the Lakers have ample room in their salary cap for when George would become available.

Furthermore, the recent hiring of Lakers legend Magic Johnson as their new president of basketball operations will provide a great selling point for George and other free agents alike.

This past weekend during the All-Star festivities in New Orleans, George stated:

“I always want to be part of a team that has a chance to win it (all). That’s important. Say what you want; I want to compete for something. It’s frustrating just playing the game for stats or for numbers or to showcase yourself. Man, I want a chance to play for a chance to win a championship.”

While George stated his number one goal was winning a championship in Indiana, he couldn’t guarantee that he would be re-signing at the end of the 2017-18 season.

At present, it appears George and Pacers’ head coach Nate McMillan are somewhat at odds as to the role that best suits him. Prior to a recent game, McMillan strongly hinted that despite the Pacers being short a couple of power forwards, George was seemingly unwilling to shift from his accustomed small forward role:

“We’ve tried that, but Paul is … um, we’ve tried that some — but no. I wish it was that easy, and it really should be, but it’s not. That’s something he doesn’t want to do.”

Not only the Lakers, but other interested teams, should take heed of McMillan’s sentiments. Presently, the Lakers’ future at the forwards spots rest in the hands of rookie Brandon Ingram and second-year power-forward Julius Randle.

If the Lakers were to make a move via either trade or free agency, at least one of Ingram or Randle would most likely need to be moved on for both playing time and salary cap purposes. With  Ingram just 19 and Randle 22, these high lottery picks are sure to have significant currency on the trade market if made available.

Currently in his eighth season in the league, George is averaging 22.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. He is playing 35.7 minutes per game while shooting 44.6 percent from the field and 38.2 percent from behind three.

For the current season, George is earning $18,314,532. His next deal will certainly be a four-year maximum contract.

Having come so far from the horrific leg injury he suffered in 2014, George will certainly be canvassing all options as he seeks his first NBA title.

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