Paul George informs Pacers he will leave in 2018

Paul George informs Pacers he will leave in 2018

ESPN's Marc Stein reports the Lakers are "trying" to trade for George in exchange for the No. 27 and No. 28 picks as well as either Julius Randle or Jordan Clarkson. Stay tuned for the latest rumblings on a potential Paul George trade, Lakers trade news and updates from the National Basketball Association offseason.

Over the weekend, Paul George, gave the Indiana Pacers some bad news. The problem is it remains to be seen how good of a return it would be.

As Wojnarowski notes, "the Lakers can create the necessary salary-cap space to sign George next summer and won't be compelled to make a dramatic offer to IN now". But sacrificing Love to acquire Butler or George - even for a historically bold team like the Cavaliers - would be risky if neither player is prepared to make a long-term commitment to the franchise. The Lakers are correcting a mistake from last offseason, but it cost them a young, talented player.

If the Lakers follow that strategy, though, the risk they'd be taking is another team (Cavaliers, Celtics, Rockets, Wizards) acquiring George from IN this offsesason and convincing him to sign a long-term deal. That is why the Lakers should strongly consider making a move for Paul George one season early.

George has reportedly informed the Indiana Pacers that he will decline his $20.7 million player option for the 2018-19 season, which shouldn't come as a surprise with cap continuously increasing. Pritchard has yet to show an inclination to engage the Lakers, but has discussed deals with several teams - including Cleveland - in which the expectation of teams would be that George is a "one-year rental". Or just let their ideal team pursue them.

But that doesn't make a ton of sense for the Lakers. However, the Cavaliers appear to be willing to acquire him without any assurances that he'll stay with them beyond next season. The Cavaliers only won one game in the Finals and by adding George it would help the team.

There is also the matter of the Boston Celtics, who seem prepared to offer some of their many first-round draft picks in a quest for George. The Pacers might have to lower their asking price, while the Cavs will have to decide if George is worth sacrificing a core asset like Love. It's also possible another team enters the conversation in the coming months. If they were able to retain both Paul and Griffin, a Big Three with George would be enough to concern the defending champion Golden State Warriors.

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