Indiana Pacers forward Paul George has told the franchise that he plans to leave the team via free agency in 2018 and head to the Los Angeles Lakers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.
It has long been speculated that George was eventually going to go to the Lakers, and now, it seems like those rumors are becoming a reality.
George has not requested a trade, but he had his agent, Aaron Mintz, tells new Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard about his plans so not to lead the organization on.
The 27-year-old, who is a California native, can sign a four-year, $130 million free-agent deal with Los Angeles next summer.
The question is, how much trade value will George hold at this point?
If the Lakers already know he will sign with them next summer, why would they trade anything of significant value for the four-time All-Star?
Plus, there will be no competition on the trade market, as no other franchises are going to deal for a player whom they know is going to depart for Southern California next July.
George, who played his college basketball at Fresno State University, was originally selected by the Pacers with the 10th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
George flashed his potential immediately, and by his third year in the league, he had already made an All-Star team and was considered one of basketball’s top rising stars.
He helped lead the Pacers to Eastern Conference Finals appearances in 2013 and 2014, only to fall to LeBron James and the Miami Heat both times.