Lakers fans have suffered through four straight losing seasons and multiple off-seasons of disappointing swings-and-misses at top free agents in recent years. Now, there’s a new rumor about a big-name free agent wanting to bring his talents to L.A. giving fans hope. The rumors center around Pacers forward Paul George and began around the trade deadline when George’s name was brought up in connection with several different teams. But no trade materialized because it was reportedly made known to several suitors that George would want to sign in LA in 2018 as a free agent.
George didn’t comment on the rumors at the time as the Pacers made a run to the playoffs before getting swept by the Cavs in the opening round. Last night, George appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and Kimmel asked George about the rumors after showing him a clip of new Lakers GM Magic Johnson speaking about the possibility previously on Kimmel’s show.
George politely declined to comment other than to say that he loves Magic before acknowledging that he’s always going to have those rumors swirling around him due to the fact that he’s from the area. George then went on to say that he will be working out with Kobe over the course of the offseason and will look to pick his brain a little bit. Later, George did say that he “loves Indy” and that it is going to be a tough decision for him.
George is set to be a free agent following the 2017-18 season, but, if he’s named to an All-NBA team this year, the Pacers have the ability to offer him a five-year $200-plus million dollar contract due to a new clause in the CBA. That could make it even more difficult for him to decide to leave Indy as no other team can come close to matching that contract. The 26-year-old George averaged 23.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists this past season.