Paul George has likely played his last game as an Indiana Pacer. The 27-year-old has informed the franchise that he will not re-sign with the team once he hits free agency in 2018. That makes a trade to Los Angeles – George’s desired destination – all the more likely.
Unless, of course, one teams steps in and beats Magic Johnson to the punch.
“There’s one team, to me, that should trade for Paul George, and that’s Cleveland,” NBA-TV’s Rick Kamla said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “With Paul George, they might be able to win a championship, and if they do so, I think that would be the enticement to get Paul George to stay long-term. But if they go one-and-done with Paul George, roll the dice, try to win a chip with him and make that gamble and lose, Paul George, after one year, will go to L.A. and Cleveland will probably be back in the lottery for years. So it’s a dangerous game.”
To acquire George, the Cavs would likely have to trade Kevin Love, but a Big Three of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Paul George might be enough to overcome the Warriors in the Finals.
That is why the Lakers may need to fire a preemptive strike.
“I would move Brandon Ingram to Indiana for Paul George,” Kamla said. “There’s the whole thinking of, ‘We’re taking the long-haul (approach), we don’t want to give up an asset like Brandon, we want to let the free-agent process play out, and then just scoop up Paul George for nothing.’ I get that. But you (might) want to get in front of a Cleveland, who may be able to get Paul George and maybe keep him with rings. L.A. is not going to present Paul George with the opportunity to win rings soon.”
Well, unless a certain dream scenario unfolds.
“(That’s if) LeBron James flames out in Cleveland this year and then goes to L.A. and joins forces with Paul George and the Lakers,” Kamla said. “There’s so many moving parts. This is such a fascinating MVP puzzle. I can’t wait to see how it plays out.”