George informs Pacers he will leave in 2018

Let's discuss. IN is looking for "a substantial package of talent and draft picks for George", according to The Vertical.

Wojnarowski cautioned even though the discussions "gained significant momentum", the two teams were still apart on a finalized trade. The Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly have had trade discussions with IN, hoping a one-year rental on a championship-caliber roster could entice him to stay longer.

With the Cleveland Cavaliers falling short of the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals for the second time in the last three years, there are plenty of opinions and rumors about what the team should do in order to reclaim the Larry O'Brien Trophy next summer.

George is probably a top-15 player in the National Basketball Association, if not top-10, and James could win a title with him as his second-best player.

The NBA has lost it's mind since the conclusion of the NBA Finals. They are loaded with draft picks with three first-round draft picks in 2018 and as many as four in 2019. My gut feeling is, Paul George is going to leave the Indiana Pacers, yet he will not join the Lakers. Knowing George is interested in signing with the Lakers in 2018, teams might be reluctant to give up their best assets without the assurance he will be with them for more than one season. He averaged 23.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game last season and has returned to form following the gruesome leg injury he sustained in 2014 playing with Team USA.

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All of those factors, and George's occasional dissatisfaction with what's gone on inside the organization, has led to speculation that the 27-year-old star could sign with his hometown team and lead the Los Angeles Lakers to another title. In this situation, Gerald Henderson is mostly an expiring contract to free up their cap space, but they also get another promising young player in Kelly Oubre Jr.

George reportedly had his agent relay the news now to IN president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard so he was upfront with his plans as well as giving the franchise the opportunity to prepare for its future. The longer IN waits, the more George's trade value declines and the worse the return they'll get for him.

But sources told ESPN that it remains unclear whether the sides can agree to trade terms before the draft, given Indiana's desire to acquire the Lakers' No. 2 overall pick and L.A.'s well-chronicled reluctance to surrender it.

The Cavaliers swept the Pacers in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs largely because they double-teamed George throughout the series.

George announcing his intention to sign with the Lakers next summer could impact the Cavaliers in another way.

  • Regina Holmes