Adrian Wojnarowski reported first that Paul George told the Pacers he plans to leave the franchise as a free agent after next season. And that he reportedly prefers to sign with the Lakers.
Pacer fan, say it with me. Uh-oh!
Now that we got that out of the way, I don’t want to hear about how this guy is doing you all wrong. And that the timing is all wrong. It’s not. He could have strung you out all season long only to announce on live television that he was taking his talents to L.A.. But he didn’t.
He let the team know up front, and before the draft, what he was going to do. What more do you want from him? Besides, is this really a surprise to anyone in Indianapolis?.
Sure, having the news leak kills any kind of leverage the Pacers may have had, but is there anyone anywhere who didn’t know this was coming?.
Again, he’s a free agent… Just like Kevin Durant was. They’re free to go and sign anywhere they want. George doesn’t owe the Pacers anything more than giving it everything he has every time he hits the floor and to be straight up about his plans. And he’s done that.
Nowhere does it say this guy has to be spend his entire career with the same team; especially if they can’t surround him with enough talent to contend for a title. It was incumbent up on them to make that situation attractive enough that he wouldn’t want to leave and obviously they didn’t do it.
So what do the Pacers do now? Obviously, they have to try to move him. There’s no reason to keep a guy around if he doesn’t want to be there. And you can’t let this guy go and get nothing in return.
Then again, who are you going to send him to? They’re in a really tough spot. They can try and trade him to the Lakers, but why would they trade for a guy who is probably going to sign with them anyway after next season? You can try to move him to a team that might rent him for a year or bring him in and try to convince him that they have more to offer than the Lakers do.
A team like Cleveland for instance. But that’s still a big gamble; especially if you have to move one of your big three to get him. LeBron might want him, but does he want him badly enough to give up either Kyrie Irving or Kevin Love to get him? Especially if he can bounce after just one year?
And with GM David Griffin’s contract up at the end of the month, exactly who is going to do that deal? And how the hell can the Cavs be entering the draft and free agency without stability at the GM position? How the hell wasn’t that taken care of by now?
So this obviously a blow to the Pacers, a blow that they obviously should have seen coming, but a blow nonetheless. And potentially, a great thing for the Lakers as George would be the first star in years to say to the Lakers as a free agent, and a signing like that would most likely encourage others to join him there as well.