Los Angeles Lakers receive good mark in Chad Ford’s 2017 NBA Draft grades
The Los Angeles Lakers need to stick to their guns and not panic despite the newest Paul George trade rumors.
The Los Angeles Lakers have had a very strong first offseason under their new regime of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka. They had a very strong 2017 NBA Draft, receiving a strong grade from ESPN’s Chad Ford. The team and their fans are hoping that the next move the team makes is acquiring Paul George from the Indiana Pacers.
Interest from the Lakers has picked up in recent weeks. After George told the Pacers he would not be returning after this season, he added that the Lakers were his preferred landing spot. The Lakers immediately got on the phone with the Pacers to discuss a deal.
Before the draft, the Lakers acquired Brook Lopez and the 27th pick from the Nets in exchange for D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov. The Lakers wasted no time in adding that pick to their trade offer to the Pacers, as they reportedly offered the 27th and 28th pick to the Pacers, along with their choice of Jordan Clarkson or Julius Randle.
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The Pacers did not take that deal, as the Lakers ended up making Kye Kuzma the 27th pick, and trading the 28th pick to the Utah Jazz. In that deal, the Lakers acquired the 30th and 42nd overall pick.
The Russell trade was made in part for the Lakers to clear cap space. They got Mozgov’s contract off the books, which puts them in a position to land not only George but potentially a second max contract player. But, there was a lot of risk in that deal, such as George ending up somewhere else.
It is no secret that the Cleveland Cavaliers would like to acquire George in an effort to better challenge the Golden State Warriors. After the performance they had in this year’s NBA Finals, the Cavaliers could be looking to shake things up and land the versatile Geroge.
Earlier today, it was reported that the Cavaliers were once again trying to land the Pacers superstar. According to Marc Stein ad Chris Haynes, the Cavaliers are engaged in trade talks with the Pacers, with the Denver Nuggets as a potential third team.
That would be a huge trade if it was actually put together. Both the Nuggets and Cavaliers would seemingly improve their rosters. The Nuggets would have a very intriguing front court with Love and Nikola Jokic. The Cavaliers would add someone in George that would help them better matchup with the Warriors.
This is something that could potentially spook the Lakers. If the Lakers do not acquire George in a trade, they run the risk of him getting traded somewhere else, liking it, and then signing a long-term deal there.
If the Lakers want to avoid that happening, they should trade for George. Waiting for free agency next year would be extremely risky. It would help the Lakers keep their young core intact, but it could result in George going elsewhere.
With that being said, the Lakers should not up their current trade offer, whatever it may be, to the Pacers. Indiana has no leverage in this situation; George has already told them he was leaving. So, the Pacers are trying to make some by talking with other teams, and the Lakers should call their bluff.
In this proposed deal, there hasn’t been any discussion about what the Pacers may be getting in return. We know that the Pacers would not be acquiring star center Nikola Jokic or budding point guard, Jamal Murray. Garry Harris would be a solid addition, but the Nuggets have no real reason to break up their young backcourt with the Warriors in position to dominate for years.
With that in mind, it means the Pacers would probably have some spare parts, such as Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler, or Emmanuel Mudiay to choose from. Mudiay is still young enough that a team could bank on his potential, but that is nowhere near as good as the package that the Lakers offered Indiana.
Indiana is trying their best to make something out of this awkward George situation. They are going to try landing the best package they can, but the Lakers should not let this deter them. Los Angeles needs to stick to their guns and not make a hasty move, such as including more young assets.
The longer the Pacers wait, the less leverage they have. The Lakers package is probably the best one that they will receive, but even that trade will have to be adjusted with the draft passing and the Lakers making another deal.
While the Russell trade has made some fans restless, the Lakers would be smart to wait out Indiana. Giving them more because the Cavaliers have reportedly made another attempt would make little sense. The Pacers are trying to create some leverage that just isn’t there; Magic Johnson and company need to wait them out and not give up any more assets than they have to.