George informs Pacers he will leave in 2018

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Paul George has made it official, according to a report.

George has averaged 18.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game over seven National Basketball Association seasons and is considered one of the best two-way players in the league. LeBron James and George can become free agents in 2018.

All of those factors, and George's occasional dissatisfaction with what's gone on inside the organization, has led to speculation that the 27-year-old star could sign with his hometown team and lead the Los Angeles Lakers to another title.

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So how do the Lakers bridge that gap? And George has a close relationship with Lakers associate coach Brian Shaw after the pair worked together in IN (2011-13). The diminishing play and onerous contracts of Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov are still an issue. Ironically enough the Lakers made a similar gamble back in 2013 when they acquired Dwight Howard hoping to convince him into staying and he dashed for Houston. Instead, PG-13's extension tops out at $177 million over five years. Knowing the star plans to leave one year from now, the Pacers will nearly be forced to move him.

Larry Bird's departure from the front office earlier this spring was likely a sign that George wouldn't commit long term to the Pacers, and now Indy's small-market minded ownership faces a challenging rebuild.

The Lakers would still have around $5.5 million and their room mid-level exception to sign free agents.

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It has always been assumed George would prefer playing in Los Angeles - an hour from his hometown of Palmdale, but no one thought he would eviscerate his trade value by declaring his intention to bolt for a specific team.

In terms of free agency and the draft, IN now knows it will have a huge hole to fill on its roster when George exits. Just a couple years ago, DeAndre Jordan was definitely going to the Dallas Mavericks. Meanwhile, while all this is unfolding, the Lakers may not sit on their hand and have another Kevin Love situation develop where they miss out on a player due to getting too cute while undervaluing a culture aided by winning. How does this affect the Lakers you ask? That would drub another team's odds at sneaking in at the last second and making the All-Star wing an offer with a better supporting cast. But Love could end up in New Orleans if the Cavs decide to let Love go or put him on the trading spot. The Golden State Warriors are already formidable, KD only added some more firepower for the kill. The Lakers could trade any one of their top-paid players - Deng, Mozgov, or Clarkson - or could package guys like Young, Black, or Brewer together.

Indiana Pacers superstar Paul George has reportedly told the Indiana Pacers that he plans to leave the franchise in free agency during the summer of 2018. His eyes are now set on Los Angeles. Other teams would only be able to offer four-year deals around $130 million. Aside from adjusting their roster, they need to deal with speculations, particularly the ones connecting James to Los Angeles. Given this, the Spurs would have a better chance of waiting until the 2018 offseason.

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