Magic Johnson, new Lakers team president and creator of the most memorable tweets in social media history, hasn’t wasted time getting to work. He traded Lou Williams to the Rockets for Corey Brewer and a first-round pick during his first full day on the job and now he’s talking to an old rival about a potentially bigger deal.
Magic has his sights set on Paul George and, according to ESPN, has had preliminary talks with Pacers team president Larry Bird about a deal.
The trade deadline is mere hours away, so those talks should become serious quickly if Magic is serious about landing George.
USA Today reported Wednesday that George recently met with Pacers owner Herb Simon to expound face-to-face on what he told ESPN’s Marc Stein last week during All-Star festivities on ESPN Radio: George still longs to lead Indiana to its first NBA championship but wants to know he is part of a title-contending roster before committing to a lucrative contract extension this summer.
Sources confirmed to ESPN in the wake of that meeting that Indiana has since invited teams such as the Lakers and Boston Celtics to make pitches for George in advance of Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.
The Pacers are 29-28 and sixth in the East but there are six teams behind them within five games. They could either be sellers or buyers today depending on how Bird feels about his roster. If Magic wows Bird with an offer and feels George won’t sign an extension this summer, it’d be easy to see the Pacers pulling the trigger on a trade.
As Magic has probably said, “If we get Paul George the Lakers will have a very good player, but if we don’t, George will still be on the Pacers.”