The Los Angeles Lakers' pursuit of Paul George may have hit a breaking point Thursday evening, and the purple and gold are looking more and more likely to make a serious push at landing the superstar.
News of George missing all three All-NBA team selections means that the Indiana Pacers' no longer have financial incentives to offer George as leverage. The Pacers can no longer offer an additional $30 million over five years as a contract extension before he becomes a free agent.
It seems increasingly likely by the day that the Lakers could actually land their star player, and now they no longer have to worry about Indiana offering George an extension he can't turn down.
That seems especially true after Sam Amick of USA Today dropped a profile after George losing his DPE eligibility became official.
"If he can’t win at the highest level in Indiana, where the four-time All-Star has been since the Pacers drafted him 10th overall back in 2010, then it’s off to Laker Land he’ll go – either via trade or in free agency next summer," Amick writes.
That's a lot of weight to put behind the Lakers landing George, especially from one of the most respected sports reporters in the business. What were once whispers about George and the Lakers have become screams no matter where you look.
Los Angeles landing the No. 2 pick only adds fuel to the purple and gold fire. They now have the trade assets to make a legitimate offer for George, or they could hold all of their talent in place until he becomes a free agent in 2018.
The Lakers may not be good now, but given another year of development with a No. 2 pick and their future could look bright as ever next season. George feels like he could be the piece that brings the Lakers' plan together, according to Amick.
"George finds himself more focused on legacy than ever. And whether it’s realistic or not, the 27-year-old who grew up idolizing Bryant in Palmdale, Calif. clearly believes he can lift the Lakers out of the darkness."
A little more fuel? George plans on working out with Kobe Bryant this offseason.
If Paul does join the Lakers and brings them back into contendership, that'd be quite the way to end his NBA career. Putting the team he grew up loving on his back and carrying them into the promised lands would definitely add another chapter to the legacy he leaves behind.