The wait is nearly over.
On Thursday, the NBA Draft will finally take center stage, and already, reports have surfaced stating that the Boston Celtics have agreed to trade away the No. 1 pick to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for the No. 3 pick and a protected 2018 first-round pick.
Philadelphia expects to pick Markelle Fultz at No. 1, making the LA Lakers' decision at No. 2 in the draft a bit clearer for the front office. However, the complication comes via reputable reports out of Indiana that Paul George has informed the Indiana Pacers that he will become a free agent in one year's time and that he will likely head west to join the LA Lakers at that time.
As such, the Pacers have seemingly hopped on the phones and are trying their best to offload their exiting super star via a trade. Already, the Pacers have talked to the Cleveland Cavaliers, which sounds intriguing for neutral NBA fans already eyeing the 2018 NBA Finals, but one imagines that the Pacers will benefit more from trading George to a team with younger assets on the roster.
What does George have to do with Thursday's NBA Draft?
While the Lakers can seemingly afford to simply sit back and wait for George to join in the summer of 2018 via free agency, the team could use its leveraged position to make a trade and bring George to LA possibly involving the No. 2 or the No. 28 picks. If the Pacers are in a hurry to offload George entering the NBA Draft week, LA could quickly become an active trade partner considering the young players on the roster and draft picks LA holds.
Certainly, the Lakers have options, and so, rumors and discussions of trades expect swirl at tornado levels over the upcoming week in particular.
In addition to the two picks the Lakers already have for Thursday's draft, an ESPN report revealed that the Lakers' front office is trying to acquire another first-round pick. The same report stated that the team expects to hold onto its no. 2 pick.
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If Fultz is off the table, the most likely picks at the No. 2 position are Lonzo Ball out of UCLA, Josh Jackson out of Kansas and De'Aaron Fox out of Kentucky. Ball and Jackson both met with the Lakers' decision-makers twice, with each player working out at the Lakers' training facility once. Seemingly, the choice comes down to whether the Lakers prefer Ball as a play-maker for the future or Jackson as an athletic wing player that can play defense and hopefully develop his shot.
It's nearly here.
The 2017 NBA Draft will be held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on June 22, 2017 with coverage beginning on ESPN at 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time.