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REPORT: Lakers want to trade top-3 pick for Paul George

Despite the Indiana Pacers‘ early exit for the 2016 postseason, Paul George once again demonstrated that he’s one of the premier talents in the NBA, and with the right group around him, he could potentially lead a team to a title at some point (won’t be easy with goliaths like San Antonio, Golden State, and Cleveland).

The Pacers’ front office still has plenty of work to do building around him as the cornerstone of their franchise; they’d be crazy not to. The only reason they’d entertain the idea of trading George is if he hinted that he will leave for another team in free agency once his player option comes up prior to the 2018-19 season.

That’s still a long way down the road and PG is only 26 years old, but if Indiana receives a deal they can’t refuse, they might jump at the chance. The Los Angeles Lakers are hopeful (keyword) that they can pull it off.

According to The Ringer’s Bill Simmons, the Lakers will attempt to flip their top-3 pick in a deal for George, but he admits that they’ll need to add another piece to entice Indiana.

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This scenario assumes that the Lakers will end up with a top-3 pick. If the draft lottery puts them at number four or worse, the pick will be flipped to the Philadelphia 76ers as a part of the Steve Nash trade a few years back (Phoenix then traded the pick to the Sixers).

Right now, the Lakers have a 55.8 percent chance of keeping the pick; it would be a huge step backward for Los Angeles if they lose such a large asset. The draft lottery is on May 17th.

With Kobe Bryant‘s absence now a reality, the Lakers are determined to find their next star player to captivate their fanbase. Top-20 players are hard to come by, but that won’t stop such a proud franchise from doing everything in their power to make it happen.

If they’re truly trying to replace the Black Mamba, Paul George seems to be the perfect guy for the job. Here’s Raptors head coach Dwane Casey’s thoughts on George, via ESPN’s Nick Friedell.

Unbelievable. I tell you what, I remember trying to prepare for a young [Bryant]. And this young man reminds me of trying to prepare for a young [Bryant] back in the Laker days, like I was back in Seattle. … I think he’s back and I’m happy for him. Now that we’re finished with him, I’m happy for him because he’s a super young man. He represents everything basketball should be about. And he’s back to his … All-Star form.