Leading up to this year’s NBA draft, many around the league have been wondering where Paul George (“PG13″), a forward who has spent his entire career with the Indiana Pacers, will end up given his recently stated intentions that he prefers to play for his childhood favorite team, the Los Angeles Lakers. PG13 becomes a free agent after the 2017-18 season ends. Having grown up in Palmdale, PG13 is familiar with southern California and would love nothing more than to reunite with his childhood dream team. Several sources who are close to PG13 have indicated his intentions to come back to Los Angeles next year, regardless of which team he is traded to. So which team won the 1-year rental fight? The Oklahoma City Thunder, which shed Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, were the winners here, as they really didn’t give up too many assets and instead they get PG13, a proven veteran All-Star who averaged 23.7 points and 6.6 rebound during the 2016-17 season.
So who is the real winner here? I tend to think the Lakers were smart not to give up assets to acquire PG13 because they feel they are confident they will get him next year in free agency and they’ll be a far better, deeper team when they do. The Thunder will likely not make it to the Western Conference finals, even with PG13, making it much more likely he bolts from OKC to Los Angeles. Only time will tell.
Despite tonight’s loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Los Angeles Lakers have given Angelenos a taste of the future in their young core of players. Their new free agent additions of Timofey Mozgof and Luol Deng, combined with the young nucleus of Julius Randle (former no. 7 pick), D’Angelo Russell (former no. 2 pick) and Brandon Ingram (recent no. 2 pick), and the Lakers are rolling. Their bench is one of the best in the game today, with Lou Williams (former 6th man of the year) and Jordan Clarkson leading the 2nd team. Ingram is coming off the bench and learning from Deng, who was brought to the Lakers to help manage the locker room and to provide a steady, consistent voice and reassurance to these young Lakers. A nice surprise has been Nick Young, whom many thought would have been shipped off to another team during the offseason given his “issues” with Russell. Young has been terrific, providing an accurate 3-point shooter to the team’s first unit and…surprise surprise….lock down defense? Credit that to new Lakers head coach, Luke Walton, who has been fantastic in his first 11 games, going 6-5 to start the season. These Lakers are not an easy W for any team and I look forward, along with all other Laker fans, for a great season to come! Playoffs?
Just last season, we witnessed Kobe Bryant’s worst statistical season ever. But we won’t forget the 5 rings he won as an LA Laker. I’ll take the peaks and valleys because despite what anyone says, he was interesting and polarizing as a player. While equally frustrating along the way, Kobe gave the Lakers everything he had night in and night out and for that, will be remembered as one of the best to ever suit up. Kobe was one-of-a-kind. We will never see another Kobe Bryant.
“Friends can come and go, but banners hang forever.”
“I never worry about the problem. I worry about the solution.”
“I like criticism. It makes you strong.”
“Talent is never enough. With few exceptions the best players are the hardest workers.”
Kevin Durant signed with the Warriors on July 4 for 2 years and $54.3M! The only place they’ll be guarding each other, at least for the next 2 years, is in practice!
“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”
I hope KD stays in OKC this free agency period.