Rumors have started swirling from Los Angeles that Paul George would like to play for the Lakers after his contract is up next season.
George, who is entering the final season of his rookie deal, was quick to squelch the rumors and put Pacers fans at ease.
“I’m happy, man. I’m happy in Indiana,” George said. “It’s overwhelming (to hear) that they would want a player like me to come play for their team. But right now I’m focused on Indiana. I’m happy to be in Indiana. Our future is bright in Indiana. I wouldn’t want to leave something great.” (via ESPN)
This rumor stinks of something that was generated by either a) a bored, disgruntled LA media member; b) unhappy fans; or c) both. George may have grown up in the area, but that doesn’t mean he wants to go home. That theory hasn’t worked out for New Orleans’ Eric Gordon and Indiana.
The Lakers recently lost out on the Dwight Howard sweepstakes and now have a team that might be destined for the bottom third of the league. They can share it with the Boston Celtics. Am I the only one who is enjoying watching the misery of the two most successful franchises in NBA history? (Anyone who says that the NBA is better when they are both good just doesn’t like change.)
The Lakers seem poised to make some big moves next summer. The current rumor is that they will make a push for LeBron James, assuming he opts out of his contract. If that fails, the next man on their list is the Knicks Carmello Anthony. George sounded like a consolation prize if these deals fell through.
George has already spoken with the Pacers front office about extending his contract. Indiana will have a very talented team in the coming season and avoiding a distraction like contract negotiations would be a nice bonus. In all likelihood, the Pacers are going to offer George a max contract (or something very close to it) and lock him up for years to come.
If George somehow does make it through the October 31st deadline without a deal, he’ll be a restricted free agent next summer. In that eventuality, LA could make him an offer but the Pacers would just match it to keep him in Indiana.
George isn’t going anywhere. The Pacers want to build around him (and Roy Hibbert).
Don’t forget to follow us on twitter, @InkOnIndy.