Report: Lakers, Pacers engaged in Paul George trade talks

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The Lakers were reportedly resisting trading for Paul George. Why would they surrender assets for someone with his sights set them in 2018 free agency, anyway?

But the Pacers have apparently drummed up enough of a trade market where the Lakers will at least discuss a deal.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Pacers are backed into a corner, whether they trade with the Lakers or any other team. Everyone believes George will sign with the Lakers in 2018 and is proposing trades accordingly.

George still has value as a rental to teams like the Cavaliers, who are ready to win now. That shouldn’t apply to the Lakers, though they could get impatient.

The Lakers would trade for George to protect against him going elsewhere and falling for his new team. They’d also block the (remote) possibility of George playing out the season in Indiana, making an All-NBA team then signing a lucrative designated-veteran-player contract to stay.

There’s risk in trading for George on an expiring contract. He could get to Los Angeles, hate it and leave in a year. See Dwight Howard.

But there’s more value in securing George’s Bird Rights (i.e., the ability to pay him more than anyone else next season), keeping him from a contender that might tempt him to re-sign and eliminating the threat of a designated-veteran-player deal with the Pacers.

The Lakers wouldn’t have to trade much for him. It’s a narrow market given George’s clear plan to get to Los Angeles anyway.

The Pacers would prefer to get something for him rather than losing him for nothing next year.

So, maybe there’s common ground. It’s at least worth exploring.