Should Magic Johnson Orchestrate A Deal For Paul George Before The NBA Trade Deadline?
Magic Johnson has only been on the job for a few days as the Los Angeles Lakers’ new president of basketball operations, and already, he’s being faced with his first big challenge. With the NBA trade deadline just hours away—it will take place at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday—Magic and the Lakers are reportedly interested in trying to swing a deal that would land them Paul George from the Indiana Pacers. If they were able to do it, the deal would give the Lakers a bonafide superstar right away and allow them to build around him. It would also give them a leader, which is something they need at the moment given all the young talent that they have on their team.
The problem is that, in order to land a player like George, the Lakers would have to give up on at least one or two of their young, as-yet-unproven players. D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, and Brandon Ingram are just a few of the names that are being thrown around in potential George trade scenarios, and chances are, the Lakers would have to give up two of those three guys in addition to a draft pick or two to entice the Pacers to part ways with George. And while that would make the Lakers better immediately, it might not necessarily be what’s best for them in the long run. It could possibly give Indiana the players it would need to be set up for the long haul while robbing the Lakers of the opportunity to cash in on the talented prospects they currently have on their roster.
There are both pros and cons to the Lakers’ reported pursuit of George. One of the biggest pros is that landing George would give the Lakers some sense of direction. At the moment, they’re banking on guys like Russell and Randle to improve and turn into pillars of their franchise, but one of or both of those players might not end up panning out. And that wouldn’t help the Lakers in the long run. But one of the biggest cons is that Russell, Randle, and Ingram could all blossom into superstar players in the coming years and make a trade involving George look bad. George would help the Lakers over the next year or two, but he could also rob them of the chance of seeing their young players grow into stars over the next decade.
This is going to be a difficult decision for Magic to make, and to make things even more interesting, he’s going to have to wheel and deal with former frenemy Larry Bird if he wants to get a deal for George done. Bird is, of course, the president of the Pacers and would have to sign off on a deal involving George, which means he and Magic are currently renewing their longtime rivalry in the boardroom instead of on the basketball court.
Whether the Lakers ultimately decide to trade for George or not, this is just the first of many tough calls Magic is going to have to make for the Lakers. So regardless of what he decides to do here, it’s going to set a tone for the team as they move forward.
Do you think the Lakers should do whatever it takes to work out a deal for George or be patient with the players they already have?