Paul George Tells Pacers He Plans To Leave, Wants To Join Lakers

Paul George has told Pacers officials that he will leave the franchise when he becomes a free agent next summer and the Lakers are his preferred destination, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

George hasn’t asked the team for a trade, but said he wanted to be open with management about his plans. He had his agent, Aaron Mintz, break the news to Kevin Pritchard, Indiana’s new president of basketball operations.

George can opt out of his contract for next summer and sign a four-year deal worth $130MM with another organization. There have been rumors for months that George would head to L.A. to try to help his hometown Lakers become contenders again. Signing George would represent a coup for L.A.’s new management team of president Magic Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka as he would be the first significant free agent to join the Lakers in several years.

Wojnarowski notes that pressure is expected to increase on the Pacers to work out a trade with the Lakers to avoid losing George with no return. He mentions Julius Randle as a possibility, along with draft assets. The Lakers own the No. 2 pick in Thursday’s draft, but probably wouldn’t part with it for a player who will soon belong to them anyway.

George’s announcement limits the opportunity to trade him to other teams when they know he will likely leave for the Lakers next July.

League sources tell Wojnarowski that George no longer believes he can win a title in Indiana and sees a better shot in Los Angeles. The Pacers lost a major negotiating advantage when George failed to make an All-NBA team, taking away his eligibility for a five-year, $207MM contract under the Designated Player Veteran Exception.

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47 thoughts on “Paul George Tells Pacers He Plans To Leave, Wants To Join Lakers

  1. TrustTheProcess

    Russel and Nance for him because you can’t let him leave for nothing

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    • ecampos84

      Why would the Lakers trade any of the young guys, when George just said he wants to leave in free agency. Pacers have no leverage here.

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      • Dretorade

        to not have him traded elsewhere and end up liking it there

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      • jbratc

        Drafting Lonzo may mean they are moving on from Russell anyways. Why not use him to get PG

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        • myaccount

          No it doesn’t. Russell played very well at the 2 when given opportunities. He and Ball can coexist.

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  2. showty

    he just screwed up his career… never win ah championship their as long as the warriors are together… stupid move to go home… sounds like he got caught up in the hype

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    • dodgerfan711

      The Westbrook George Lakers will be better then the Warriors.

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        • KnicksCavsFan

          Westbrook and Durant were up 3-1 to the Warriors. Not sure how they weren’t better. You can argue they under performed. Durant shot 24 of 62 (38 FG%/4 of 19 from 3pt range) in games 5 and 6 and the games were decided by a total of 16 points. Durant and Westbrook chocked.

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  3. dodgerfan711

    This is perfect. Lakers can hold the pacers hostage and get George for nothing. Pacers are not getting the #2 pick or Ingram. If lakers get George this season they will have a respectable record and not even end up giving up a high pick from the nash trade

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    • The Pacers will trade George to the Cavaliers for Kevin Love. It’s guaranteed now.

      If I’m the Cavs I don’t mind renting George for one year…..and then both he and LeBron go to the Lakers or Lebron to the Clippers.

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      • Why would the Pacers want Kevin Love if they’re in rebuild mode.

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        • You still need players. You’re not trying to tank and lose unless you’re the Sixers. Plus Kevin Love is only 28. He’s a big man so he can go 10 more years easy especially with that sweet jumper. And he’s probably the best you can get for George after that big announcement. So there’s plenty of reasons.

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        • KnicksCavsFan

          As stated in a post I made, I’m no fan of trading Love for anyone unless it’s Cousin’s (speaking only of names mentioned as being on the trade block). That being said, George helped the Pacers by letting them know he wasn’t planning on resigning but also screwed them by confirming to the world that he wants to play for the Lakers. The latter has hurt their leverage somewhat but it makes sense that given the rumors of LBJ wanting to leave at the end of next season (which I don’t necessarily by into) the Cavs might want to give it one last shot and be willing to trade Love for PG to go all in for 2017-18 and if he (and James) walks after the season then they have tons of money off the cap and can try and focus on rebuilding around Kyrie Irving. The Spurs (to move Aldridge’s contract) and the Clippers (Jordan or Crawford) might also employ the same thought if Paul and/or Griffin walk this year.

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          • I think it would make more sense as a 3 team trade. Cavs get George, Pacers get pick(s) from 3rd team, 3rd team gets Love

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        • prestonb1291

          Who says they’ll rebuild? Love and Turner is an excellent front court. A pivot, for sure, but continuing to make the playoffs is still a money earner for the franchise.

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  4. Celtics will still offer a better deal. They have 7 1st rd picks in the next 3 yrs. Theyre not going to need all them so why not give up a couple to get an all star even if it’s only for 1 season. He could be the difference. It’s hard not seeing him leaving the celtics if they make the NBA finals next year. This could also force Lakers to up their offer to make sure a season with the celtics doesn’t change his mind.

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    • Typo* It’s hard to see him leave if the celtics make the NBA finals next year.

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    • dodgerfan711

      No he wont stay with the celtics beyond 1 year. Not going to happen

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      • Obviously you think that because you’re a lakers fan. I feel like a taste of NBA finals or a ring can possibly change a players mind

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        • frankgrimes

          Celtics won’t make it past LeBron even if they add PG13. They’ll get crushed again by the Cavs and he’ll leave. I bet the Celtics go after Butler before they go after George or make a crazy deal for Anthony Davis

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            • KnicksCavsFan

              When, way back when? When the Celts had Pierce, Allen, Garnett and Rondo? That’s less?

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        • KnicksCavsFan

          Can you imagine Paul George, who declared how much he loves LA and the Lakers, signs with the Celtics? Haha…No.

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    • KnicksCavsFan

      Because Ainge isn’t about competing for one year and the Pacer’s would be crazy to not demand a pick capable of being a top 5.

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      • jbratc

        Pacers don’t have that kind of leverage to demand a top 5 pick.

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  5. Thronson5

    I think the Lakers may still try to trade for him. Give them them Randle, the 28th pick and Dengs contract. Nobody will give the Pacers anything for a guy that won’t sign with them and determined to join the Lakers so before you bash my trade just know the Lakers hold all the leverage here.

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    • KnicksCavsFan

      Randle is a FA after next season, the 28th pick isn’t going to net anything and Deng is an albatross. It would literally make zero sense for the Pacers to do that.

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    • I thought the same thing. They’re not going to take a bad contract of an aging player if they’re in rebuild mode

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      • Picking up bad contracts to trade in the last year of Dengs deal to get some future draft picks.

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  6. Compton

    Randle needs to stay on the Lakers. He is their best player right now and hustles the most.

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    • frankgrimes

      Russell is a better player and I think Ingram takes a big step forward this year too.

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  7. Compton

    Paul George doesn’t even fit in the Lakers future. Stay the course and build with the young guys. George is 28+, by the time the Lakers are ready to compete George will be over the hill. Don’t ruin what the Lakers have done for a guy that won’t win you a championship.

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  8. KnicksCavsFan

    First off, George just did the Pacers a favor. Now they know that the only move to make is to trade George and get back something in return. How George screwed them is by telling the world he wants to sign with the Lakers. If he had limited the discussion to a “want to go to a title contender” then that would’ve at least gave the perception to a few that he would accept a trade and resign if part of team capable of taking him to the finals. In theory that could’ve been the Cavs, Spurs, Clippers, Portland, Boston, etc.

    The obvious trade that most are suggesting is a trade with the Lakers. However, it’s not that simple. The salary exchange still matters. So any trade MUST include one of Deng, Mozgov or Clarkson to be involved. If I’m the Lakers, what’s my incentive to trade any young asset that I can build with when I can just wait one year for George? If I’m Indiana, why would I want two players in Deng (no thanks) or Mozgov (ehh) that are already at or over 30 and quite expensive. The player that makes sense as the centerpiece would be Clarkson who is owed 3/$37. The Lakers might make that deal and decide to keep Russell and pair him with Ball or another PG from this draft. Clarkson can be the starting PG for the Pacers, is only 25 and has a reasonable contract.

    Thinking outside of the box however, some teams may be willing to attempt to aquire George knowing that he plans on walking at the end of the year. I am a Cavs fan who is AGAINST trading Love for PG but if the prevailing feeling among the Cavs front office is that they would love to get from under the Love contract ($47 mil guaranteed and a PO of $25 mil) coupled with the rumor that maybe LBJ is walking at the end of the year, maybe they offer Love for PG.

    Cavs can then go strong for one last push in 2017-18 and if PG walks in 2018 then they free up cap space for the 2018 FA class which includes players that might be better fits like Westbrook (move Irving to SG), Avery Bradley, DeMarcu Cousins, etc.

    From the Pacers standpoint, even if Love wasn’t someone they wanted long-term they can use him as an asset and probably get picks from another team to build from the 2018 draft.

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    • jbratc

      They would have to shed a lot more cap than Love(or PG) to be major players in FA after next year

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  9. Z-A

    Why as the Lakers would you even make a trade at this point? Why devalue your team if he’s coming in a year?

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    • Sports

      Because we can potentially dump Deng or Mozgov to make room for George salary in ’18. Would have to include another asset like Clarkson, but well worth it. Not gonna give up any young guys. Prob + 2nd rder

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  10. Matt Galvin

    Maybe get a 3 Team nvolved maybe Detroit with Drummond and Jackson to Pacers and 2nd pick and maybe Mozgov or Deng or Clarkson to Detroit.

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  11. adshadbolt

    All these people saying that Boston should trade for Davis is never going to happen because the pelicans aren’t going to trade him they need him to keep their franchise alive and they traded there future for boogie cousins to play with Davis

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  12. acarneglia

    Ok here’s something that’ll sound crazy but kinda make sense. Charlotte is stuck with bad contracts Plumlee has like 3/36 left and Batum has like 3/21 left. Send Plumlee, Batum, Lamb, and a pick to Indy for PG. Gets the Hornets out of bad contracts but makes losing PG easier to stomach for Indy with a replacement at SF, a raw SG/SF and a back C with a pick down the road

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