The whispers are turning into shouts when it comes to Paul George heading to Los Angeles to play with the Lakers, via trade. Lakers boss Magic Johnson appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live this week and tampered with George without tampering with George, and George has already more or less told his Pacers teammates that his longterm plans involve the Lakers, not Indiana.
In other words, this thing is happening and it’s happening this summer.
The question now is how much will the Lakers have to give up to get George? Larry Bird wanted more than just the potential No. 1 pick in this year’s draft from the Celtics at this past trade deadline. That means the Lakers would likely have to give up more than just the first second or third overall pick.
“What we’re waiting on is to see if we’re going to keep our pick or not,” Lakers boss Magic Johnson recently told Fred Roggin and Rodney Peete on LA Sports 570 AM. “And if we can keep that pick and be one either one, two or three in terms of the draft, then we’re going to be in good shape.”
The dream scenario for Magic – who craves star power – and Lakers fans is to obtain both George and Lonzo Ball this summer. Both players desperately want to play in Los Angeles.
The only way this could happen is if the Lakers get at least the second pick in the NBA Draft Lottery and if they trade all of their incumbent young assets to Indiana for George.
That is actually a more likely scenario than Magic trading the No. 1, 2 or 3 pick overall straight-up in exchange for George.
Prior to Magic arriving, the Lakers made it clear that they were not interested in trading any member of their young core (Brandon Ingram, D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle). Magic holds no such reservations, and Bird would absolutely listen if he was given that package.
With George and Ball as centerpieces, the Lakers could become instant players in free agency.
It’s also important to note that George is still just 26-years-old, so this in no way would be a “quick fix” for the franchise.
“It’s easy to say, hey, we’re going to clean house. It’s easy to say that but it’s not easy to do,” Magic said in the aforementioned interview.
Nope, it’s not easy to do. But Magic has already shown he’s capable of doing it – going back five years when he was prominently involved with the Dodgers.