Report: Paul George told Pacers he plans to leave after next season, preferably for the Lakers

Paul George
Courtesy of USA Today Images

So it begins. Paul George, who’s been tied to the Los Angeles Lakers for at least a year, has reportedly told the Indiana Pacers he won’t be back after next season.

As usual, it’s Adrian Wojnarowski with the big breaking news.

“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.”

Obviously, George didn’t need to tell the Pacers of his plans. But the fact he is letting them know speaks to his integrity and that he doesn’t want to leave Indiana on bad terms. Wojnarowski reports George wants to give the Pacers the chance to “plan appropriately” for a future without him.

If he does sign with the Lakers in free agency following the 2017-18 season, then George can sign a four-year deal worth up to $130 million. A Southern California kid, he’d be the first major free agent to sign with the historic franchise in ages and would have a chance to close out his career with his hometown team

This past season with the Pacers, George averaged 23.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists, leading Indiana to the playoffs.

Los Angeles has the chance to feature quite a reformed lineup in the next few years. In addition to George, there are rumblings LeBron James could join the Lakers, which in addition to the young talent would make this team a force in the west that could potentially compete with the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs.