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.
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.