BREAKING: Water is wet.
Oh, and Paul George is totally willing to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers beyond next season if LeBron James sticks around.
From USA Today‘s Sam Amick:
Hell-bent as he is on signing with the Lakers, George also won’t close a window of opportunity. So if the Cavs can convince Pritchard to either take on four-time All-Star forward Kevin Love or send him to a third team in exchange for more suitable assets, then George will play his heart out alongside LeBron James and remain open to the idea of re-signing next summer if James were also to return. Or, perhaps, George could leave for Los Angeles with James at his side.
Ditto for the Celtics or the San Antonio Spurs, teams that could fulfill George’s desire for title contention and thus put themselves in the running. And should the Lakers come along and trade for him early to ensure he doesn’t fall in love with another team, then so be it.
There is a level of “duh” involved here. Of course George would consider staying with the Cavaliers, an NBA Finals formality, if they’re poised to remain an NBA Finals formality.
At the same time, it’s a necessarily disclaimer, because George’s love for Los Angeles Lakers is now universal knowledge. Though the Cavaliers might be able to build a three-team deal that sees them give up Kevin Love, they’re taking an inherent risk, betting that both LeBron and George want to stick around. Lose one, and they’ll lose both…in the same summer.
This development is equally important to the Lakers, because it means George doesn’t only have eyes for them. As of now, his plan is to sign with them next summer. But it’s now clear he’s open to changing his mind. While this doesn’t demand the Lakers throw out Brandon Ingram in negotiations, it does suggest they’ll have to give up more than initially expected, since George’s increased scope gives the Pacers the slightest bit of leverage they didn’t have before.