Paul George to Lakers (possibly with Russell Westbrook)? All-NBA vote makes it easier –

When the 2017 All-NBA selections were announced, the storylines were easy to find. LeBron James tied a record for first-team selections. James Harden was the only unanimous first-team selection. Chris Paul wasn’t picked. 

But maybe the most relevant element was Paul George ‘s absence.  As a result, George is no longer eligible for the designated player extension this year, which means he winds up short about $70 million. Given both his history of reported interest in the Los Angeles Lakers and an on-record history of frustration with the way the Indiana Pacers have gone in recent years, it’s natural to look at this development as a setback to Indiana’s pursuit of retaining him. 

A couple of things to note:

The Pacers can still offer it to George next season, if he makes an All-NBA team. He’d have to opt into the final year of his deal in 2018-19, and then take the extension after. That might be reason enough for George to stay, at least through the end of next season.  If he’s traded, he’s not eligible for it, so that’s out the window. Players don’t take the ability to sign the DPE with them, it has to be with the team that drafted the player.  The Pacers will still be able to offer another year, and more money, next summer even if George doesn’t make All-NBA

Typically, when we do these kinds of analysis, the focus is on “what makes him the most money.” But what we’re really talking about with George at this point is whether he’ll be traded, and where. George has telegraphed a pretty clear preference for the Lakers. He’s from California, and multiple reports have indicated

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