It has been more than a full year since the Los Angeles Lakers decided to move on from Byron Scott as the head coach. However, Scott has kept tabs on his former team heading into the offseason.
One of the biggest rumors that have surrounded the franchise over the last several weeks is Indiana Pacers star forward Paul George‘s strong desire to play with the Lakers. During a recent interview with Ryan Ward of Lakers Nation, Scott once again stated that he believes George playing for Los Angeles would be a “great” move for both sides.
“Magic has said Paul George’s name on a few occasions, so I’m just going by what I hear. I think Paul George has pretty much said he would love to play in L.A., so I’m just putting two and two together and I think it would be great for the city. I think it would be great for Paul George who grew up idolizing and rooting for the Lakers to be able to go back and play for a team that he loves. It would be a big splash for Earvin.
“Now I think in order to do that obviously they’ve got to give up something. Picks and players. I don’t think it is going to be one or the other. I think it is going to be both, so Indiana is going to have to be willing to part with him if they can’t re-sign him next year. So that’s kind of the guessing game going on right now, but I think that is definitely somebody that is definitely on their radar.”
Although it’s no secret that the Lakers would entertain the idea of acquiring George, there are still plenty of hurdles to jump. The Pacers have repeatedly voiced their desire to keep the All-Star forward for the long haul beyond his current contract that has two years left on his five-year, $91.5 million deal, which contains a $20.7 million player option for the 2018-19 season.
Things could take a more serious turn this offseason for various reasons. This could begin with the NBA draft lottery next Tuesday that will determine the fate the Lakers’ 2017 top-three protected pick. Depending on where it falls and if Los Angeles retains it, this could have a huge impact on team’s decision to further pursue George.
It has already been reported that the Lakers are ready to offer a few of their young core pieces in any potential trade offers. As for the Pacers, the team could have the opportunity to present a more lucrative contract to George if he meets any of the criteria for the “designated player” rule that is in the new CBA.
These accolades consist of NBA MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, All-NBA First Team, All-NBA Second Team, All-NBA Third Team. George may be headed toward another All-NBA team selection, which will make him eligible for a long-term contract that would be $70 million more than any other team in free agency.
George is coming off one of his most productive seasons averaging a career-high 23.7 points, which was the fifth-highest scoring output in the Pacers history.