By: John Morgan Francis
It’s been a week since we heard of any trade talks between the Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers involving Paul George. Lakers Legend and President Magic Johnson is on record saying Brandon Ingram and the second overall pick (now Lonzo Ball) are both untouchable. Outside of those two players, the Lakers don’t have anything close to matching Boston’s proposed offer to Indiana for George.
The Lakers not landing George may not be a bad thing, though. The Lakers projected lineup next season will likely be Ball, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. That’s a bottom-5 roster on paper and will probably be so by next April.
So why pass on George, the latest super star in over five years saying he wanted to play for the Lakers?
Los Angeles isn’t ready to win a title and Magic knows that. George is on record saying he’d like to play in L.A. but also wants to contend for a title (hasn’t won a playoff series in three years). Magic giving up Ball or Ingram for George wouldn’t elevate the Lakers into title or even playoff contention.
Also, Demarcus Cousins is a marquee player set to hit the free agent market next summer. Cousins has been tied to L.A. as his likely destination. Magic could cash in on a star without giving up any assets.
The Lakers could also package Clarkson and Randle this season for a quality veteran to pair with Cousins. Names that come to mind would be Wesley Matthews, Dwayne Wade or even Carmelo Anthony.
A core of Ball, one of the three trade targets, Ingram and Cousins would get the ball rolling in Hollywood.
This doesn’t scream “title contender” but any relevance at all in Laker Land is the direction Magic Johnson needs to head for.
Twitter Handle: @MonJorgan