Paul George To Leave Indiana in 2018 For LA


Indiana Pacers All-Star small forward Paul George has informed his team that he plans to become a free agent in 2018 and he plans to pursue a career with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

Per Wojnarowski:

“George hasn’t requested a trade before he can opt out of his 2018-19 contract, but did have his agent, Aaron Mintz, tell new Indiana president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard that he wanted to be forthright on his plans and spare the franchise any confusion about his intentions, league sources told The Vertical.

George can sign a four-year deal worth as much as $130 million with Los Angeles next year. George is a Southern California native and playing for the Lakers would represent a homecoming for him.

George plans to play out the 2017-18 season with Indiana, but wants to give the organization the chance to plan appropriately for its future – which George told the team won’t include him, league sources said.”

With George going, it would now make sense for the Indiana Pacers to trade him to get something in return for him, but chances are that would not happen due to George already stating that he will go to the Lakers in 2018, resulting in the Lakers not making any trades for him. At the moment, the Lakers should have no motivation at all for trading for George.

“Between then and now, the pressure will mount for the Pacers to formulate a trade with the Lakers in the near future, because the risk of losing a star of George’s stature for nothing next summer is potentially devastating. If management takes George at his word about wanting to join the Lakers in 2018, it may be cornered into making the best possible trade it can with Los Angeles now, squeezing whatever value out of the Lakers that Indiana can acquire in a deal for George.”

The Pacers are coming off a 42-40 season, finishing 7th in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers were swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the postseason.

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