There is no question that Paul George will leave the Indiana Pacers this offseason via trade or next season via free agency. It’s no secret that George wants to play for the Los Angeles Lakers but one team is expected to go after him this summer. The latest NBA trade rumors suggest that the Boston Celtics are interested in acquiring George and the four-time All-Star is reportedly open to signing an extension.
Paul George has been linked with several teams this offseason as the Pacers look to trade him before he becomes a free agent at the end of the 2017-18 NBA season. George would have more value if he plans to sign an extension. Los Angeles is his expected destination because he grew up in California and he wants to revitalize the Lakers franchise.
However, it seems like the Celtics could steal Paul George from the Lakers. Boston still has the best haul of assets and talent to get George and they don’t have to give up too much. But in order to do that, the Celtics have to make a big move first before it George arrives in Boston.
According to Adam Kaufman of CBS Boston, the Celtics will need to sign Gordon Hayward this summer before they can acquire Paul George and convince him to stay for at least three more seasons. The Celtics have the assets to get George and they are a more appealing destination than the Lakers at the moment.
Gordon Hayward #20 of the Utah Jazz walks up the floor during an NBA game. [Image by Rob Carr/Getty Images]
CSN New England elaborated Kaufman’s report by noting that the Celtics do not need to trade the 2018 Brooklyn Nets pick to acquire Paul George. The Pacers are reportedly willing to accept a deal for George in exchange for Jae Crowder, a salary filler and either the Lakers 2018 or Kings 2018 first round pick from the Philadelphia 76ers.
The most important thing for the Celtics in their pursuit of George is the signing of Gordon Hayward in free agency. Hayward has been linked to Boston this past year because of his ties with Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. The 27-year-old All-Star even dropped hints of signing with the Celtics thru social media but he could just be trolling everyone.
If the Celtics can acquire both Paul George and Gordon Hayward, they can finally remove LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the throne of the Eastern Conference kingdom. And if George decides to sign a three-year extension in Boston, it puts the Lakers in a difficult position.
The Lakers tried to acquire Paul George before and during the NBA Draft but the Pacers wanted more from them. Magic Johnson can still wait for George next summer but it’s a little bit risky to let him play for a contender. Nevertheless, Johnson has done a fantastic job of clearing cap space for next summer so that they can sign two max contract players believed to George and LeBron James.
Lakers president Magic Johnson looks on during an NCAA game. [Image by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka even hinted about signing two superstars during the introductory press conference of Lonzo Ball, per Real GM. Pelinka noted that the Lakers’ goal is to bring another championship and he believes two superstars are needed to make it happen.
We know the goal here is to compete for championships. That’s what we want to do. I think with the leading teams in the league today, we felt like, to be able to look them in the eye and challenge them, we need two superstar players to come here and join this platform and join our core group of players we now have. That’s our plan, and we’re going to put all of our energy and all of our hard work toward that.”
It should be noted that these are just NBA trade rumors at the moment and nothing has been confirmed. The Celtics have been linked with other players but they know that Paul George can get them over the top. As for the Lakers, they need to move now to secure George or risk losing him to their bitter rivals.
[Featured Image by Andy Lyons/Getty Images]