Paul George and the Indiana Pacers are currently focused in the upcoming postseason as they aim of winning their first NBA championship title. However, rumors continue to swirl around the Pacers star whose interest in joining the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018 is reportedly “real” and “widely known.”
Before the February trade deadline, reports claiming Paul George will join the Lakers in 2018 started to create noise. George will become an unrestricted free agent in 2018 and could leave the Pacers if they fail to contend for the title this season. Last month, the 26-year-old small forward also said that he isn’t guaranteeing the Pacers that he’ll sign a contract extension this summer.
George’s statements sparked up multiple speculations that the Pacers were trying to move him before the trade deadline. According to Zach Lowe of ESPN, the Pacers engaged in trade talks with several NBA teams, including the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, and the Denver Nuggets. However, Pacers president Larry Bird denied all the rumors surrounding their star player and called them “fake news.”
Lakers confident Paul George will return to LA in 2018
Bird wants Paul George to stay, believing that he could bring the first NBA championship title in Indiana. However, he knows George will be the one to make the decision. Despite expressing his intention to stay with the Pacers, Bird remains open on the possibility that George will change his mind.
If he doesn’t sign a contract extension this summer, there is a higher possibility that he will be available on the trade market again. However, Lowe revealed that the Lakers will not pursue him via trade as they are confident they could acquire him in 2018 free agency.
“The Lakers? They might be the one team confident enough to wait for George’s free agency. George’s interest in L.A. is real and widely known. But nothing is certain until you get that signature, and every day between now and that July 2018 day brings the risk of some unknown variable messing up your plans,” Lowe wrote.
Paul George remains focused on 2017 NBA playoffs
Paul George tried to ignore every rumor surrounding him as the Pacers focus in the upcoming postseason. They are currently in the 7th spot in the Eastern Conference with a 36-35 win-loss record. Unlike what he stated before the start of the season, George expects a tougher competition in the 2017 NBA playoffs.
“We thought we’d be able to turn the corner with the talent we have,” George said. “That hasn’t been the case. But it’s a long season. Like we say, its 0-0 once the playoffs start. We continue on, we fight our way into the playoffs, and it’s a new season for us. It’s a new season for everybody.”
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