The Indiana Pacers season is officially over, thanks to the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James and crew finished off the sweep of the Pacers Sunday afternoon and possibly ended the tenure of Paul George with the team. Just this past Trade Deadline there were rumors that Larry Bird had considered moving George in order to stockpile players and picks for the future. While the move didn’t make sense then, it does now. Time to call the Los Angeles Lakers.
George has been called everything from selfish to loser during this series. The media and fans didn’t take too kindly to him bad-mouthing Lance Stephenson, George not being able to contain James or not being able to lead his team to at least one victory. Is this fair for Paul George to receive this treatment?
Yes, it is.
He’s labeled a superstar in this league whether people respect it or not. He’s going through the same treatment James went through before he defected to the Miami Heat. George needs to be surrounded by talent and the Pacers just can’t or won’t do it. They tried this year by bringing in Jeff Teague and while Teague performed well, it’s the others that failed to live up to the measuring stick. So, what is Bird to do now? The offseason will be filled with much speculation as to the future of George and the franchise.
One of the teams mentioned when discussing a possible George deal is his hometown Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers can provide the Pacers with a loaded package that can help the team now and for the future. However, it all depends on how far Magic Johnson is willing to go to win. A deal can be discussed between the old friends but the Lakers won’t know how far they can go until after the NBA Draft Lottery May 16th. After then, the Lakers will know exactly their place in the Lottery.
If the Pacers are looking for a great deal and the Lakers wind up with a top 3 pick– then why not offer up Brandon Ingram and said pick for George? That’s a win-win for both parties. Ingram and the current Lakers roster just doesn’t fit. The team is trying to groom D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and Ingram at the same time and it’s impossible. A veteran like George will take ownership over a young squad and help them mature into winners.
The Pacers getting Ingram, who has the ceiling to be another George, coupled with a top 3 pick and the option to release the Pacers of George’s contract could have Bird foaming at the mouth. But now it all depends on the Lakers. Last season they paid close to $140M for just two players who were shut down before the season ended. If Johnson can get rid of at least one of those deals this summer then the Lakers can afford to take on George’s contract without worry.
This will be a tough offseaon for the Lakers, Pacers, and George as the future of all three could change with one phone call.