Indiana Pacers superstar Paul George has been the topic of some surprising trade discussion lately.
The Indiana Pacers and Paul George are coming off of a season in which they fell to the 2nd-seed Toronto Raptors in seven games in the first round of the playoffs. With George and the Pacers now in the offseason, rumors have began to swirl.
The Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly expressed an interest in making a run at George this summer, willing to give up a first-round pick and then some in order to attain the 26-year-old superstar.
A report that initially is surprising given the reason that the Pacers would be absolutely nuts to trade away their franchise player, there are a few aspects to this idea that would make sense, just a little.
Prior to being drafted 10th-overall by the Pacers in the 2010 NBA Draft, George had lived in California his entire life. He played two years of basketball at Fresno State before going to the NBA, and it’s been noted that George has said numerous times that he grew up idolizing Laker’s star Kobe Bryant growing up.
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As stated earlier though, Larry Bird and the rest of the Pacers organization would be out of their minds to trade George — arguably a top-10 player in the league — to the Lakers.
For one, the Lakers don’t have anything to offer that is entirely enough for Bird to even think about shipping George. While the Lakers are likely to have a top-three pick in the coming draft, that in its entirety wouldn’t be enough for a player of such high caliber.
Louisiana Sate University’s Ben Simmons is a highly praised prospect whom is projected to be the first-overall pick in this year’s draft. Simmons has been compared to the likes of LeBron James during his freshman year at LSU and would be an incredibly versatile, high-caliber player for any franchise.
However, Simmons has yet to prove himself against actual NBA talent. Why would the Pacers trade away an already proven star for someone whom they have no idea exactly how good they’ll be in the NBA?
Even with their current roster, the Lakers still have very little to offer aside from their first-round draft pick. They do have D’Angelo Russell — the second pick in last year’s draft from Ohio State whom would be a solid piece for a Pacers team that lacks a true point guard. Still, the Pacers would likely ask for more compensation for George and the Lakers just don’t have many other appealing options.
It can be said that this trade probably won’t even come close to happening. The Pacers would come out of the deal as the losers, having just given up their best player for an unproven talent and a couple of other players you’ve never heard of before.
But that’s why these types of rumors are fun. They allow fans to speculate and play the ‘what if?’ game. With that being said, while Bird has made some questionable moves in the past, he’s not that stupid to trade George with two years left on his contract.
Don’t bet on seeing George in a Lakers uniform any time soon.