Where do the Lakers stand now?
According to people not authorized to speak publicly, George, a Palmdale native, is still telling friends that he intends to be a Laker in 2018. Because of that, he knows the Lakers have little incentive to trade for him now.
This is tricky for the Lakers.
They should be reluctant to trade much for a player who could just sign with them anyway.
But any other team that trades for George now will be better than the Lakers next season. Plus, that team can use the Laker threat to offer Indiana less return – leaving itself better positioned for the long run. The Lakers want to avoid George going somewhere as a rental than falling in love with his new team, which would hold his Bird Rights.
I’m not sure what the Laker should do beyond monitor George trade talk, potentially improve their own offer if necessary and hope for the best. At least George saying he’ll join the Lakers in a year is a positive sign.