Paul George’s plans for the next two years have already been one of the most talked about offseason storylines, as the Indiana Pacers star makes it clear what he wants.
George, a native of the Los Angeles area, has made it clear he’d love to play for the Los Angeles Lakers if he doesn’t feel like the Pacers are in a position to compete for an NBA title.
Entering the last year of his contract, George could head west next summer, depending on how the Pacers do next season. Or, if Indiana really believes the star forward is leaving no matter what, it could trade him this offseason or before the 2018 trade deadline.
However, if George’s most recent comments are to be believed, the Pacers may have a better chance of keeping their young star than previously thought, as PG-13 told ESPN.com he thinks Indiana has some pieces in place that could help them compete for a spot in the NBA Finals:
“In ways, I feel like we are close,” George said. “It’s hard not to believe that because we did the best against Cleveland of anyone [in the East] and we could have won that series. At the same time, we need some more talent, we need better players.”
Indeed, the Pacers played the Cavs well in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Though they were swept, they lost the four games by a combined total of 16 points.
George also addressed some of the other rumors surrounding him, which include the Boston Celtics making a trade for him and him teaming up with LeBron James in Cleveland:
“They’re all crazy,” he said. “But all are to be expected. I’ve been dealing with this since last season, but I’m just living in the moment.”
Right now, George says he’s planning to play for the Pacers next season, but as we all know, that could change in a hurry. However, it should comfort Indiana fans that PG-13 doesn’t sound upset with his situation with the Pacers.
He could, and likely will, decide to move on next offseason if he’s not traded before then, but the Pacers can expect a motivated and happy George to show up when the fall training schedule begins ahead of the 2017-18 campaign.
It’s safe to say that the Pacers will have to do better than last year’s 42-40 record to entice George to stick around. A team with a star like PG-13 and a good supporting cast has no business entering the Eastern Conference playoffs as a No. 7 seed.