The Lakers landed the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s lottery and it brought speculation that the team could send it to Indiana for Paul George. However, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (video link) hears that George would prefer the Lakers to keep their assets since it would allow them to be a better team come next summer when George can be a free agent.
Wojnarowski added that the Lakers are confident that they can sign George and the team is being encouraged not to make a trade for him. It’s unclear exactly who is feeding Los Angeles this information, but it sounds as if someone from George’s camp reached out to the team.
George did not make an All-NBA team this season, meaning he is not eligible for the new designated player extension. He could earn that super max deal with the Pacers should he make an All-NBA team next year, something that would give Indiana an advantage in keeping him on the squad. The awards aren’t announced until after the season, which would leave the team with less than two months to negotiate a new deal since George is likely to opt out of his current deal next July.
New team president Kevin Pritchard may not want to wait and risk losing the organization’s best player for nothing, so a trade with the Lakers or another team remains a possibility. The franchise still has the ability to offer George more years and money than any rival team, though the advantage isn’t as significant as it would be with the designated player extension as an option.