The Los Angeles Lakers hopped on the fast track to bouncing back after securing the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
That leaves the Lakers in prime position to add another coveted young prospect to a roster that's already rife with blooming talent. LA is set to add a fourth lottery rookie to D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram.
They also have other interesting young players like Larry Nance, Jr., Jordan Clarkson and Ivica Zubac on the way as well. The roster that's been built in Los Angeles is loaded with interesting prospects, and Paul George would prefer they keep it that way instead of trading for him now.
The Lakers and George will continue to be heavily linked together until George signs a fresh contract with whichever team he decides to join or is traded to. George, being a Los Angeles-grown talent, could be the superstar the Lakers desperately want and need.
If they do want George, though, he'd prefer they do it through free agency. Luckily for the Lakers, they're already fairly confident they'll have a very good chance to outright sign him as a free agent in 2018, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.
"For the Lakers, they are pretty confident and have a great deal of belief that they're in position to get Paul George in 2018 whether he stays in Indiana or is traded elsewhere.
"They don't have to give assets up to go and try to trade for him. In fact, I think they've been encouraged to do just the opposite. If Paul George is gonna go there he wants them to have assets, he wants them to be as good of a team as they can when he walks in," Wojnarowski said.
It makes sense that George would rather join a Lakers team that has all of its assets as opposed to a franchise that just gutted itself to land him. A great reminder is how the New York Knicks emptied the cabinets to acquire Carmelo Anthony.
The Knicks got their superstar, but they struggled to build around him because of the sheer lack of talent that was left once they landed Carmelo. George and the Lakers can wait a year, then lock in their future together while LA still has talent up and down the roster.
The temptation to swing a trade for George will be mighty for the Lakers, especially if the Pacers begin aggressively shopping him in fear of losing the All-Star talent for nothing. It sounds like the LA will have to resist the urge to land their superstar for at least one season.