L.A.

Lakers instructed not ‘gut’ roster to acquire Paul George

Photo Credit: Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

With the trade deadline now passed, there has been much clarity brought to the Los Angeles Lakers’ game plan in the market.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Lakers were directed not to ‘gut’ their roster in an attempt to trade for All-Star forward Paul George from the Indiana Pacers (h/t RealGM). 

“Here’s the issue with Paul George: he’s made it clear that if he’s going to leave Indiana, he’s going home to L.A.,” said Wojnarowski. “He grew up in southern California. Big Kobe Bryant fan. His dad is a big Magic Johnson fan. Obviously Magic is running the organization now.

“The direction that I was told that the Lakers got in the last couple of days was ‘hey, don’t gut your team to go get Paul George.'”

Los Angeles has in place an intriguing young core group of players such as D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle,  Jordan Clarkson, and Brandon Ingram that the franchise has put much faith in building around in the coming years. 

It’s widely believed that the 26-year-old only has interest in signing a long-term deal with the Lakers when he becomes a free agent in 2018. The Pacers appeared to have hurt their chances of retaining George beyond his current contract after he voiced his disappointment in the lack of rosters moves ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. 

The four-time All-Star is in the midst of another highly productive campaign averaging 22.3 points on 44.6 percent shooting from the field with 6.2 rebounds per game. He is currently in the third year of his five-year, $91.5 million contract that possesses a player option for the final season worth $20.7 million. 

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Bob Garcia IV

Bob Garcia IV is a sports journalist from Southern California. He's currently the Los Angeles Lakers beat writer for Sports Out West. He's also currently a sports freelance writer for Sports Uncut. He's also the beat writer for LA Rams Report for Scout.com, which is a website dedicated to covering the Rams. Lastly, he was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarcia90.
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