Paul George has reportedly told the Indiana Pacers that he plans to leave the team next summer and sign with the Lakers.
It looks like the Pacers are now open to trading Paul George.
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However, the Celtics reached the Eastern Conference Finals last season and are on the short list of teams that could realistically challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors in the coming years.
Former Brooklyn Nets executive Bobby Marks tweeted that the Lakers do not have space to add a maximum salary player in 2018 and would need to trade contracts to make room for George. He's close friends with LeBron James, he's sick of losing to him in the playoffs and the Cavaliers can nearly guarantee him a trip to the NBA Finals next season. He can shoot. He averaged 16 points and 11.2 rebounds in the 2017 NBA Finals.
What makes it a risk is the fact that George made it clear to the Pacers that his preference in 2018 will be signing with the Lakers.
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George has an 18.1 points-per-game average in parts of seven National Basketball Association seasons. Any suitor would be hoping it could use one year with George to convince him to stay despite the Los Angeles temptation. Gone are their defense-first ways - as well as the coach of those Pacers teams (Frank Vogel) - in favor of a more wide-open style built around All-Star guard Paul George and led by new coach Nate McMillan. With these factors in play, most teams will not be eager to give up too much to get a deal done. Despite George's vast talent, a one-year rental of George means the Pacers won't get very much back.
As their best player, the Pacers can't afford to let George walk as a free agent without getting anything in return.
It came to light this week through multiple reports that George's agent had informed the Pacers of George's intentions to leave following the expiration of his contract in summer 2018. To land either Butler or George, sources say, Cleveland knows it would have to assemble a three-team (or more) trade -- likely costing them All-Star forward Kevin Love - to manufacture the top-five draft pick Chicago and IN are known to covet IN exchange for surrendering their respective best players. The Knicks knew they were Anthony's preferred destination, but the threat of Anthony accepting a deal and extension to another team forced them to give up a core of young players and role players plus a first-round pick, robbing them of needed depth.
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