The Los Angeles Lakers got some tremendous news earlier this week. With new president Magic Johnson on hand during the NBA Draft lottery on Tuesday, the Lakers received the second overall pick in the annual event later this year. If the team had seen its selection fall out of the top-three, it would have been handed over to the Philadelphia 76ers.
This has led to speculation that the Lakers might look to flip that pick for a proven star. Yahoo Sports! NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski is now here to throw that entire idea out the window.
In the process, the venerable NBA reporter is indicating that the Lakers themselves are confident in their ability to sign Paul George in free agency next summer.
“(The Lakers) are pretty confident and have a great deal of belief that they’re in position to get Paul George in 2018 whether he stays in Indiana or is traded elsewhere,” the scribe reported.
George has long been bandied about as trade bait. It started during the trade deadline back in February and will pick up more steam once free agency starts this upcoming July. The Indiana Pacers’ All-Star is set to become a free agent following the 2017-18 season and has not committed to the team over the long term.
Meanwhile, George himself has reportedly expressed an interest in returning to his Southern California roots and playing for the Lakers (more on that here).
Flush with the second pick in this year’s draft as well as some young trade capital, the expectation is that Johnson and Co. will be active in free agency and on the trade block. Though, the idea of yielding valuable assets for an extra year of Paul George doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense.
“They (the Lakers) don’t have to give assets up to go and try to trade for him. In fact, I think they’ve been encouraged to do just the opposite,” Wojnarowski continued. “If Paul George is gonna go there he wants them to have assets, he wants them to be as good of a team as they can when he walks in.”
It will definitely be interesting to see what happens with both the Lakers and Paul George this summer. There’s a scenario in play where Los Angeles looks to move former lottery pick D’Angelo Russell in a trade. Though, that likely won’t include bringing George back in return.