Indiana Pacers forward Paul George often gets lost in the conversation when you talk about superstars in the NBA let alone the Eastern Conference. George on Sunday reportedly let the Pacers know of his intention to leave the team after the 2017-18 season with the intention of going back home and signing with the Los Angeles Lakers.
George is not a bad player. He has averaged 18.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists over his seven-year NBA career and has made the All-Star Game four out of the seven times. He also has a career 18.5 PER and shoots 43 percent per 36 minutes. Those numbers are pretty solid for a guy who has played in Indiana all of his life and only gets the right attention in the playoffs.
However, this spring something happened. George tried to step up and become a leader very quickly. He also had a helping had in blowing a playoff game in the first round against the Cleveland Cavaliers. His Gatorade commercial that played throughout the playoffs seemed to throw shade at C.J. Miles who took the final shot and missed in the first game of that series. To me, George’s frustrations showed an attitude that we have not seen before from the 27 year old. George wants to be the leader of the franchise that does not get much play in the media and when he does try to speak up fans and the media give him the “dude, you play of the Pacers, relax.”
Now that he wants to leave Indiana, it puts himself and the Pacers in quite a predicament. Indiana would definitely want to trade him, but which team would want someone who isn’t going to re-sign with them? The Lakers do not want to move any young pieces to trade for George and will have to get rid of a big contract to even have a chance at signing him next year.
George killed his trade value by reportedly insisting he wants to go to the Lakers, which raises some red flags. Did George want to purposely sabotage his own trade value to spite the Pacers? Is he trying to force himself out now to hit the market where he would be the biggest name? Is he using it as leverage against the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he has been linked to? They are valid questions to ask at this point.
Indiana has no option now than to keep him for 2017-18. I don’t think anyone would want to give up a boat load for George at this point.