Where Will Paul George Play in 2017-18? Odds Favor Lakers

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 6:30 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jun. 20, 2017 6:30 PM UTC

The biggest NBA offseason bombshell so far dropped recently when Paul George’s agent informed the Indiana Pacers that George will be leaving the team as a free agent after next season. So naturally there’s now a prop on George’s future.

By George, He Wants Out Of Indiana

Indiana Pacers fans and backers might be angry with superstar Paul George in the wake of the news that his agent told team officials that George is going to leave in free agency after next season and plans to sign with his hometown Los Angeles Lakers even though Indiana can pay him quite a bit more.

If I’m a Pacers fan, I’m bummed out/pissed off as well, but George did the franchise a favor and at least now the Pacers can get something in a trade for him, even if it’s 50 cents on the dollar. If George had led the team along, Indiana could have risked losing its best player since Reggie Miller for nothing in free agency -- just like Oklahoma City did with Kevin Durant last offseason.

George is a Top-10 talent in the league who averaged 23.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists last year. Alas, his team was just a seventh seed in the East and was swept out of the playoffs by Cleveland. BetOnline has a prop asking with which team George will play his first game of the 2017-18 season. The Lakers are the +175 NBA betting favorites.

If you are Lakers boss Magic Johnson, what do you here? Give up a good young player (and salary filler like Luol Deng) and/or a first-round draft pick for George even though you are super-confident he will sign there next summer? The worry would be that if the Pacers trade George to another team and that club wins a championship – would George really leave a title team?

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Which leads us to the Cleveland Cavaliers. They clearly are good enough as constructed to win the Eastern Conference yet again in 2017-18 but not to beat the Warriors in a fourth straight NBA finals. The Cavs are +200 to be George’s club next season. They have been talking to Indiana and potential other clubs about a three-way deal to land George. The Cavs would presumably give up Kevin Love in any package. However, they also risk losing an All-Star in Love for just one season of George. Cleveland’s thinking is that playing alongside LeBron James – who himself has been rumored to be headed to the Lakers in 2018-19 – will change George’s mind. 

Indiana is +600 to be George’s club to open next season. The Pacers could call George’s bluff, hope he makes one of the three All-NBA teams and then could offer him about $70 million more in free agency than any other team via the new “super-max” contract for qualified players. Or the Pacers could choose to keep George, try to contend and then potentially trade him during the season.

The field, meanwhile, is +250. The list of teams who would want George is, well, every club. But those willing to give up assets for a potential one-year rental is small. The Celtics, Raptors, Wizards, Rockets and Clippers might. 

Free NBA Pick: Field +250Best Line Offered: BetOnlineTalk Potential Paul George Trades In Our NBA Forum
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