- Maddie Meyer/Getty
Paul George is the hottest trade target in the NBA at the moment, but from the sounds of it, he already has his mind made up about his ultimate destination.
It’s been widely reported and rumored that George wishes to join his hometown Los Angeles Lakers in 2018 when he becomes a free agent.
That desire reportedly led him to have his agents tell the Indiana Pacers, his current employer, that he’ll leave in 2018.
The Pacers have been shopping around and teams are reportedly still trying to trade for George, hoping that one year of success could convince him to re-sign next summer. However, George, it appears, is already planning years ahead for the Lakers.
Kelenna Azubuike, a former NBA guard and current analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area, told 95.7 The Game on Tuesday that George has already reached out to Klay Thompson to join him on the Lakers when Thompson is a free agent – in 2019.
"He has definitely has put in a call to Klay Thompson and he would like to play with him in LA." -Kelenna Azubuike on Paul George & LA.
— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) June 27, 2017
The Lakers have grand plans in free agency in 2018, clearing out the necessary cap space to sign two stars outright. George is presumably one target, while rumors of LeBron James eyeing the Lakers have been going around – perhaps he is the second target.
For the Lakers to sign both, they may have to move more players off their payroll to clear cap space. To then try to sign Klay Thompson in 2019 would be almost impossible, barring an unforeseen spike in the salary cap.
The NBA world was surprised when it was reported that Draymond Green reached out to Kevin Durant immediately following the Warriors’ 2016 Finals loss to recruit him to the team. If the news of George reaching out to Thompson is any indication, players may be scheming their future super-teams well in advance.