Paul George reportedly told Pacers he will leave in 2018, prefers Lakers
Paul George has reportedly informed the Indiana Pacers that he will not re-sign with the team after the 2017-2018 season.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, George has not requested a trade but has told the Pacers he is not going to sign an extension. With Larry Bird having recently stepped down, George reportedly wanted new president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard to be aware of his intentions.
Wojnarowski adds that, not surprisingly, George would prefer to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. Indiana can offer George significantly more money than any other team because of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement rules, but several reports have indicated that George wants to play for his hometown Lakers.
While it’s admirable of George to be up front with the Pacers, he is leaving the team with very little leverage. No other team is going to want to trade for George if it is virtually certain that he is going to sign with the Lakers. And if the Lakers know they can sign George next summer, they won’t want to give up anything significant for him, either.
There has been some speculation that George could be a key piece for the NBA’s next super-team, but it would be a surprise at this point if he doesn’t end up in purple and gold. The only question is whether that will happen now or later.