Report: Los Angeles Lakers, Indiana Pacers involved in Paul George trade talks

After falling in back-to-back Eastern Conference finals in 2013 and 2014, the Indiana Pacers have reshaped their roster and style in the seasons since. Gone are their defense-first ways — as well as the coach of those Pacers teams (Frank Vogel) — in favor of a more wide-open style built around All-Star guard Paul George and led by new coach Nate McMillan.

More change may be in the works now, too, for Indiana. George and the Pacers have found themselves in the midst of trade talks as the 2017 Draft nears and according to ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne and Mark Stein, the Los Angeles Lakers are engaged in trade talks about George:

The Indiana Pacers and Los Angeles Lakers are engaged in Paul George trade discussions as Thursday’s NBA Draft draws near, according to league sources.

But sources told ESPN that it remains unclear whether the sides can agree to trade terms before the draft, given Indiana’s desire to acquire the Lakers’ No. 2 overall pick and L.A.’s well-chronicled reluctance to surrender it.

The Lakers have been adamant, with one team source going so far as to say there’s “zero chance” they’d part with the No. 2 pick or last season’s No. 2 overall pick Brandon Ingram in a trade for George, knowing that the Pacers’ All-Star hopes to sign with his hometown Lakers as a free agent in July 2018.

Yet sources say the fact that Indiana has made George available via trade league-wide — after hearing directly from George’s agent Aaron Mintz over the weekend that the player has no desire to commit his long-term future to the Pacers — has led to talks that could potentially result in the Lakers’ acquiring George this offseason.

Trading for George now would obviously come at a cost for the Lakers, but it would also insulate them from the possibility that another team gambles on a one-season rental with the highly coveted two-way swingman and uses a successful season to convince George to stay.

Teams with a known willingness to gamble — such as ‎Boston, Houston and, of course, Cleveland — might be willing to surrender quality trade assets, believing they can convince the 27-year-old George to reconsider his plans to head home to Los Angeles in 2018.

UPDATE: Stein reports that the Lakers have ramped up their effort to land George with a concrete offer of two first-round picks and either Julius Randle or Jordan Clarkson.