There are six forward spots on the All-NBA teams and Indiana Pacer Paul George was not named among them, leaving him ineligible to receive a five-year, $207 million supermax extension this summer.
Regardless of money, it’s growing increasingly clear that George’s desire is to head back home to California and play for his hometown Los Angeles Lakers, which he can do either next season in free agency or force the Pacers’ hand right now.
The $70 million gap between the five-year deal the Pacers could have offered George and the four-year deal he can sign with other teams was the real leverage point the Pacers held in persuading George to stay.
That’s gone now.
In George’s case however, it seemed like money was secondary to winning and winning with the Lakers. Now with the financial landscape a little clearer for the four-time All-Star, it seems the path is paved for him to head to La La Land. But the question remains, are the Lakers willing to give up significant assets now for a player they can likely convince to come in 12 months time.
Carmelo Anthony’s move to New York serves as a cautionary tale for being impatient, but franchise cornerstones don’t come around very often. If you can get one, get him and figure out the rest.
The Lakers would likely have to give up a combination of D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and the no.2 pick to land George, but if they can hang onto one of those pieces, you make that move, right?
George clearly wants to be a Laker and if you want to add more fuel to the conspiracy, he was working out with LA big man Julius Randle earlier this week, which means nothing…..or everything.
Julius Randle working out with Paul George. 👀😳pic.twitter.com/hcGJ6WJAET
— Leading NBA ™ (@LeadingNBA_) May 18, 2017
Either way, the Pacers have a lot to think about this off-season. Watching Kevin Durant walk out on Oklahoma City is a reminder that sometimes its best to get what you can and start the rebuild on your own terms.