Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

George informs Pacers he will leave in 2018

George informs Pacers he will leave in 2018

In the meantime, the Pacers are trying to trade him for the 2017-2018 season.

The Cavs are willing to enter into trade talks for George without any assurances he will commit to a long-term deal in Cleveland, a source familiar with the Cavs' thinking told ESPN. What if the Cavs or Celtics swing a trade for George and he enjoys the winning culture and decides to re-sign there? With George informing IN of his plans to pursue free agency next year, the new Pacers front office, led by Kevin Pritchard, has little option but to move the All-Star forward before the 2017-18 season. Why Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard specifically reached out to the OH squad was unclear but a good bet is Pritchard is interested on acquiring one or two Cavs talents before letting go of George.

The Shop Indy made a decision to give away what's left of their Paul George merchandise for free online and in-store. He would mark the Lakers' first potential free-agent signing since striking out in recent years in retaining their own (Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol) and enticing star players (LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan, Greg Monroe, Kevin Durant).

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But smarter heads should prevail in Los Angeles. He tried out for his school's basketball team during his freshman year at Knight High School. The Pacers had been hoping they would eventually be able to re-sign him. He has been playing for the Pacers ever since. I am under contract, and I intend to play, " George said while sitting in the first-base dugout.

Indeed Cleveland would look different with George being part of the team.

One source described the Cavs' interest in George as "legit", but added that pulling off a deal could be "very complicated".

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Irving averaged a career-best 25.2 points, along with 5.8 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals over 35.1 minutes per game during 72 regular-season games, and that productivity continued throughout the 2017 NBA Playoffs. IN can offer him a five-year, $177 million extension as opposed to the four-year deal the Lakers are permitted to offer. When he is in free agency next year, he is likely to get an even larger salary and contract. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly interested, but there figures to be no shortage of suitors. No team, including the Lakers, will give up much for George knowing he is intent on joining the Lakers.

Paul George is in an enviable position with teams fighting over him. The Lakers are happy to wait until 2018 when he is in free agency and ready to join them.

The downside: George could still leave in a year.

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