How Paul George Became Most Prized Player in NBA Arms Race – RollingStone.com

Paul George has made it known that he won’t be in Indiana for much longer. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the four-time All-Star has informed the Indiana Pacers that he plans on becoming a free agent in 2018 with the intention of joining another team. It’s believed he has his eyes set on the Los Angeles Lakers – George was born in Palmdale, California and spent two seasons at Fresno State before entering the 2010 NBA Draft – but there are several teams hoping to change his mind between now and then.

There is a simple way this can play out: George sticks with the Pacers for the remainder of his contract before signing with the Lakers in the summer of 2018 for $130 million over four years. There is also a more complicated and compelling route this can go: George parts ways with the Pacers at some point between now and the NBA’s trade deadline in February before joining the Lakers or sticking with his new team for an equally lucrative contract.

Trading George would be in the best interest of the Pacers. George is one of the elite two-way players currently in the NBA and getting some sort of return on him would help the franchise quickly retool. The problem is it remains to be seen how good of a return it would be. 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. Some combination of draft picks and young assets would be a gamble for any team, which explains why the Lakers don’t feel any pressure to make a “dramatic offer.”

It has made the NBA arms race

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