NBA free agency rumors: Paul George tells Pacers he’s leaving in 2018, eyeing Lakers


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Paul George has reportedly made his intentions absolutely clear to the Pacers — he will play out the final year of his contract next season, but plans to enter free agency in 2018.

The Vertical reported Sunday that sources indicate George would prefer to end up with the Los Angeles Lakers. The 27-year-old forward is a native of Southern California.

 George said last week he expected to play out his contract with the Pacers in 2017-18, shooting down rumors that had him bound for the Cavaliers. The four-time NBA All-Star, who averaged 23.7 points per game last season, has repeatedly vowed his loyalty to the Pacers’ organization. And that may be what prompted George to make his decision known. According to The Vertical, George instructed his agent, Aaron Mintz, to tell Indiana president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard about his decision now, to “spare the franchise any confusion about his intentions.”

Ironically, George’s well-meant intentions will put pressure on the Pacers to work out a deal with another team, most likely the Lakers, to move George in exchange for assets, rather than just let him walk into free agency.

George stands to rake in a big contract as a free agent. The Vertical reports he could sign a four-year deal worth as much as $130 million with the Lakers next season.

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