Pacers reportedly talking with Lakers on George deal

The duo is still viewed as an integral part of the Lakers' young core.

Despite having surgery to remove a loose body in his left knee on Valentine's Day and missing a month to recover, Love averaged 19.0 points, 11.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 0.9 steals over 60 games during the regular season. In a radio interview with Allen Sliwa of ESPN 710, Ford said other teams told him the Lakers were calling around to offer Russell as they try to work out a deal where they could acquire a first-round pick to take a player they'd already worked out.

"The day the Lakers got Magic Johnson, I was told by one of Paul's people that Paul wanted to go to the Lakers. They aren't giving them the No. 2 pick".

All of that makes it possible the Pacers will need to trade George for pennies on the dollar. The Lakers could be hesitant to pay Randle max money next offseason. I still don't think so. But the Lakers don't want to wait another year to land Paul George and bring him home.

George can opt out of his contract following the 2017-18 season and become a free agent and is targeting the Los Angeles Lakers as his next club.

Complicating matters is the widely held belief across the league that George wants to return to his native California to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. The reports surfacing on Sunday confirmed that George intends to sign with the Lakers in 2018.

It's borderline insane for a franchise to have such an unsettled front office just three days away from the draft and 16 days from the start of free agency, and now there's suddenly a superstar up for grabs. At the same time, adding George to any other team in the National Basketball Association probably wouldn't be enough to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors next season, so it will be hard for them to convince him to stay.

Even if George doesn't stay, it's the Cavaliers' best shot at a ring in 2017-18.

Conceivably, the Los Angeles Lakers hold the leverage over the Indiana Pacers, because the Lakers are Paul George's preferred destination. The two-way wing was drafted 10th overall by the Pacers in 2010. 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.

  • Julie Sanders