Indiana Pacers superstar Paul George has reportedly told the Indiana Pacers that he plans to leave the franchise in free agency during the summer of 2018. George’s preferred destination is the Los Angeles Lakers. This story was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports and then confirmed locally by Bob Kravitz of WHTR.

It is in the Pacers’ best interest to trade George this summer to not only maximize their return in a potential deal but to plan ahead for the future. It would be a worst case scenario to have Paul George prop up their win totals up until the trade deadline just enough to prevent them from getting a great draft pick in next year’s draft.

The rationale behind a George trade can be oversimplified. If he is going to leave next year for nothing then they must take whatever the best offer is now before or during the draft. They can’t afford this distraction to loom over them for another year and to be detrimental to their potential at drafting a franchise cornerstone next year.

Nate Taylor reported that Aaron Mintz (Paul George’s agent) informed the Pacers about Paul George’s plans to depart to the Los Angeles Lakers in the free agency of 2018 yesterday. Now there are conflicting reports regarding when the message was delivered. Taylor added that the Pacers were fully intending to build around George until the message was delivered on Saturday.

Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Kevin Pritchard is actively shopping Paul George to multiple teams to test the rental market, including the Cleveland Cavaliers. The talks with teams are in the very early stages. The Lakers aren’t included in talks so far but the rest of the teams are unknown.