Paul George has not been happy in Indiana for a while now. In fact, rumors have swirled for a while now that he wants to head to the Lakers. So why is this important now? After this season, PG-13 will be able to opt out of his contract and become a free agent. Therefore, if the Pacers want to get some value for him before he walks, it’s in their best interest to trade him this offseason. Indiana is now at a crossroads, they can trade George, so they don’t need a full rebuild, or they can let him walk for nothing. In that case, they would need to start from the bottom again.
This creates an interesting question. Should the Lakers trade for George, or should they just wait for him to become a free agent? Well, the answer is actually straight-forward. In order to sign Paul George, the Lakers would have to lose either Jordan Clarkson or Julius Randle. The ideal scenario seems to be Paul George for Jordan Clarkson, with trade considerations to the Pacers as well. This way the Lakers wouldn’t give up the farm, like the Knicks did to get Carmelo, but the Pacers would also receive a nice piece to help their rebuild.
With George in the lineup, the Lakers could actually be a contender in the west. The starting lineup would be:
PG – Lonzo Ball
SG – D’Angelo Russell or Brandon Ingram
SF – Paul George
PF – Julius Randle
C – Ivica Zubac or Timofey Mozgov
With this roster, the Lakers would have a lot of lineup options. Randle could move to the 5 if they want to go small, and George could play some 4, which is something that he is accustomed to doing in Pacer-land. This Lakers squad would also match up surprisingly well with the Warriors. The Lakers have been a solid matchup for the Dubs, but they were just missing that one big piece. Everyone in that starting lineup is long and athletic, and this will produce a matchup nightmare for most opponents.