Report: Lakers want to trade first-round pick, more for Paul George
The Lakers just don’t want to trade the No. 1 pick if they get it.
They reportedly have a specific target in mind: Paul George.
Bill Simmons of The Ringer:
Also hearing that the Lakers want to make a BIG run at Paul George with their top-3 pick plus other stuff. (Not that they'd get him...)— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) May 4, 2016
First, the Lakers would have to get a top-three pick. They keep their first-rounder only if it lands in the top three, and there’s just a 56% chance of that. It’d also help to get the No. 1 pick, where the Pacers could choose between Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram. There’s a big drop to the prospects available at No. 3, so which pick the Lakers get matters a great deal.
The Lakers might also have to add a valuable young player like D’Angelo Russell or Julius Randle.
And then they’d have to convince Indiana to accept the deal.
While announcing Frank Vogel’s ouster, Pacers president Larry Bird said:
Does that sound like someone who’d trade his star veteran for a rookie?
With a top-two pick, the Lakers might have assets commensurate with George’s value, but they’re all assets that will bloom a few years from now. If the Pacers aren’t interested in that timeline, none of this matters.
The Lakers’ plan makes sense – even beyond Jim Buss needing a quick turnaround to keep his job. The Lakers cap space would become much more valuable with a veteran star like George, who’d sway free agents. A patient rebuild makes less sense in Los Angeles than other places.
Getting a star is hard, but the Lakers should try. Succeeding could quickly lead to a second and maybe even third star joining.
They just have to be careful not to dump a valuable draft pick for someone with star status but not star production. George is a true star, but if they can’t get him, who’s Plan B and C and…? At a certain point, it makes sense just to draft someone and build slowly around a young core.