With the 2017 NBA Draft lottery quickly approaching, the Los Angeles Lakers will learn if they will keep their top-three protected pick. As the storied franchise is reportedly eyeing four prospects should they keep this year’s draft pick, much of the attention remains on Paul George’s future with the Indiana Pacers.
With multiple reports linking George with his hometown team, former Lakers head coach Byron Scott would trade some prospects for the four-time All-Star in an exclusive interview with Ryan Ward of Lakers Nation:
“Magic has said Paul George’s name on a few occasions, so I’m just going by what I hear. I think Paul George has pretty much said he would love to play in L.A., so I’m just putting two and two together and I think it would be great for the city. I think it would be great for Paul George who grew up idolizing and rooting for the Lakers to be able to go back and play for a team that he loves. It would be a big splash for Earvin.”
“Now I think in order to do that obviously they’ve got to give up something. Picks and players. I don’t think it is going to be one or the other. I think it is going to be both, so Indiana is going to have to be willing to part with him if they can’t re-sign him next year. So that’s kind of the guessing game going on right now, but I think that is definitely somebody that is definitely on their radar.”
If the reports are true, it would make sense for the Lakers to sign George when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2018. Instead of gutting the roster for him, it would allow George to play with the young core of Brandon Ingram, D’Angelo Russell, and Julius Randle.
However, if the Lakers decide to wait until free agency, the Pacers could trade George to another team before next year’s trade deadline. Regardless of what happens, it will be an interesting first offseason for President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka.