The Paul George sweepstakes has the entire NBA chomping at the bit. Teams are clamoring for the superstar small forward even if means for a one-year rental, as he has expressed his desires to play for his hometown Los Angeles Lakers when he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2018. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics have been mostly mentioned to land the Indiana Pacers’ star in a trade. However, a dark horse has continued to swoop in under the radar — the Washington Wizards.
During the NBA Awards Show on Monday in Los Angeles, Wizards star John Wall expressed his desire of his team landing his buddy George. He admitted to the Undefeated of ESPN, he has been recruiting George trying to convince him to join his 2010 draft classmate and Bradley Beal to create a formidable Big Three in the nation’s capital.
“I am talking to some guys — Paul. I know his ultimate goal of where he wants to be. I’m trying to see if we can make something happen,” Wall told Marc J. Spears of the Undefeated.
The Wizards have been looking for a way to make a deal happen. Unconfirmed rumors have stated George would like to play with Wall. The two have a great standing relationship that grew as both were entering the NBA together.
“We’ve been friends and we’ve talked throughout the summer,” Wall said. “He has to make a decision that is comfortable to him. But at the end of the day, you always have to get [elite players]. You have to go out swinging. You got to get a yes or a no.”
Wall understanding of George joining him goes beyond just a brotherhood. Wall knows how impactful adding George can be for the Wizards. It’s a move that can certainly get them over the hump of both the Boston Celtics and Cavaliers to reach the franchise’s goal of the NBA Finals.
“Look at our team. We are one piece away,” Wall said. “We have the point guard, we have the shooting guard, we have the center, we have the power forward. Our 3-man, [Otto Porter Jr.], did great for us. You can’t take nothing away from what he did. But, [George] is a guy that can guard LeBron and go back at LeBron. It’s a piece that you’re going to need to win. If you don’t have a guy who can do that, you don’t have a chance. …
“You got to add another star. You got to add another piece. You got to have three guys. And that’s what it’s looking like.”
The Wizards are hanging their hat on sending Otto Porter to Indiana as part of a sign-and-trade. Porter is set to be a restricted free agent on July 1, therefore he would need to agree to sign with Indiana — which can be less than he can get on the open market — in order to get the trade moving. Washington has other options. However, Porter is by far their best chip at the table, sort to speak.
Landing George also can result in Wall agreeing to sign his Super Max extension that could pay him upwards to an additional $165 million over four years. Getting PG in town for one season gives Washington a leg up on retaining him with a strong season. The Wizards came one game away from reaching the Eastern Conference Finals this past season. Adding a third superstar instantly makes them a threat for the East title.
“Indiana has all the rights to do whatever they want, Wall said. “And if he goes where he doesn’t want to go, he doesn’t have to sign next year.”
It can be hard-press for the Pacers to find a more reasonable piece than Porter without another team breaking the bank. However with the offers coming in, there is no lock the Wizards may win out. But at least they are at the table.