Most believe there is a game of poker playing out on George and that he will inevitably be traded to the Lakers. The team was part of the 2017 NBA Playoffs and reached the Eastern Conference Semifinals, taking the Boston Celtics to seven games.
If the Pacers keep George and let him go next offseason, they wouldn't receive anything back for him.
The Lakers have some leverage here - George has expressed his desire to join them when his current deal expires after next season.
One source familiar with the talks said a deal could potentially involve multiple players from both sides.
And while the Lakers are confident they'll see George in 2018, an advanced trade deal would secure him from the risk of signing with another team and being convinced to stay past the a year ago of his contract. If George had made an All-NBA team either this season or next, he would have been eligible for the Designated Veteran Player Exception (the "Kevin Durant rule"), but all signs say that George intends to opt out regardless of his designation status.
While there's nothing imminent with the Blazers, the Paul George front is one to monitor closely, as the Pacers appear interested in moving him before they lose him for nothing next summer in free agency.
Cleveland on the other hand is going to be making changes and they might be the only trade option if the Los Angeles Lakers decide to hold off for now.
Los Angeles cleared $54 million in cap space by including Timofey Mozgov in a trade with the Nets for Brook Lopez, who has an expiring contract. He also talks about the unwillingness by teams to give up much in return for George given that he's indicated he'll be a rental for any team not named the Lakers.