As reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical Paul George has informed the Indiana Pacers that he plans to become a free agent in 2018 and leave for another team, preferably the Lakers. Paul George has also repeatedly stated that he wants to win and that is his main goal, but just how much does George want to win? Is he willing to win somewhere other than Los Angeles, or is he set on LA being his new home? The real question is will the Lakers get desperate and trade for Paul or will they wait it out until he becomes a free agent and trust that he will sign with them? History says that the Lakers should trade for him. Free agents, even after claiming they would want to play for the Lakers, have scorned them and often signed elsewhere. From LeBron James to Carmelo Anthony and even Dwight Howard (who they traded for) the Lakers have had zero luck on getting free agents to signing with them. It has been so bad that they have had to settle on players like Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov being their marquee free agent additions.
From what I’ve heard and some of the reports circling the web, George doesn’t just want to be a Lakers he would also like to be a winner. With so many teams desperately searching either for a star of their own or a star to pair alongside their current stars, a Paul George rental doesn’t sound half bad. Would Paul George stay if the team he’s traded to shows him they’re serious about playing for the championship and are willing to go the extra mile to pick up other pieces? Would he stay if he gels with his new teammates and he feels like they have something special in the making? Those are questions that not even Paul George will likely be able to answer at this point.
Now how would you guys feel about the Denver Nuggets making a pitch for Paul George?
The Nuggets desperately need another star to pair alongside their star Nikola Jokic. I’ve had a couple of conversations recently with a few knowledgeable writers and people connected to the league who say they truly believe Nikola Jokic is not only a centerpiece for the Denver Nuggets but also on his way to becoming an all-NBA caliber player. Tim Connelly was recently quoted with Vic Lombardi on Altitude Radio stating that he’s had a handful of agents calling him saying their players would like to play with Jokic.
We’ve had a handful of agents reach out to us and say ‘my guy would like to play with Nikola Jokic.’ I think that speaks well to our future, when guys want to play with someone it’s really encouraging.
If the Nuggets can somehow trade for Paul George without giving up their current young core and too many assets, they might be in a good position to retain his services. A trade would have to somehow involve a player or players that the Nuggets would like to keep but if they are willing to take the risk, a trade involving Emmanuel Mudiay, Kenneth Faried and or Will Barton wouldn’t hurt the Nuggets in the long run.
There are many routes the Nuggets can take to secure themselves a run at Paul George either now or in the near future. They can give the Indiana Pacers a lowball offer of Emmanuel Mudiay, Will Barton and next years 1st round pick. If that fails and they feel like they need someone like PG13 on the team, they can offer this years 13th overall pick, Jamal Murray and Juan Hernangomez who are both promising young players. Another route they could go is to attempt to sign him as a free agent next season. Superstar shooting guard Dwyane Wade was quoted praising the Nuggets and their franchise for their pitch to him last offseason although he chose his hometown Chicago Bulls instead of the Nuggets. More recently another superstar guard Chris Paul was just linked to wanting to visit the Denver Nuggets this offseason as he plans to give them a chance to sell him on joining the team. As per ESPN
According to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, a league executive says Paul has plans to speak with the Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets as well.
If the Nuggets can somehow secure a meeting with Chris Paul and get him onboard, they will be in a position to pitch Paul George a core of Chris Paul, Nikola Jokic and himself to compete against the Golden State Warriors in the West.
Paul George would be a perfect fit in Denver as their other star Jokic is a great and willing passer who draws plenty of attention from opposing defenses on his own. Paul George would be able to play the role as alpha dog but he would also have the entire offenses weight lifted off his shoulders. He would be able to zero in on defense as he will not have to work as hard on offense to get his (like Kevin Durant on the Warriors this year). Such a move would make Paul George more efficient and he would be able to conserve more energy for the fourth quarter. Denver on the other hand would get an explosive forward who can play both ends of the floor at a high level and would willingly put the team on his back in the closing seconds.