Paul George's camp leaked yesterday that he won't re-sign with Indiana and "prefers L.A.", so why would the Lakers give up anything in trade when they could just sign him in 2018?
Here's why: other teams are going to try to snag him.
Cleveland, Boston, and even Phoenix are just a handful of the teams rumored to be interested in jumping into the Paul George sweepstakes, which is causing many nationally to push for a PG-to-Lakers trade right now:
The Lakers can't afford to let a hometown kid who wants to play there land in Cleveland or Boston, where if he contends in 2018, could remain long-term. While L.A. doesn't have a ton to offer in trade, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, their #28 pick, and perhaps even dumping a contract (Deng? Mozgov?) could be enough for a Pacers team looking to just get something back for their destined-to-leave star.
For the Pacers, hopefully there's a bidding war between the Lakers, Cavs, and Celtics to drive up the price. At this moment, it seems George's trade value is far less than what it was a week or four months ago.