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Lakers’ Magic Johnson era transitions from rebuilding to contending

Cassandra Cousineau | OW Contributor | 3/2/2017, midnight
With Magic Johnson officially holding the president of basketball operations post, the Los Angeles Lakers are shifting their focus from ...

With Magic Johnson officially holding the president of basketball operations post, the Los Angeles Lakers are shifting their focus from a team in rebuilding mode, hoarding and collecting assets in the form of young and mostly unproven players, to adding star power.

Recently, USA Today’s Sam Amick tweeted that Palmdale native Paul George is “hell-bent” on heading to Los Angeles barring a title chance by Indiana.

Regarded as one of the top 20 two-way talents in the league, George combines reliable perimeter defense, aggressive scoring, and moves exceptionally well without the ball.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe has also stated Paul George to the Los Angeles Lakers is “very, real” and that George’s name will be discussed in the summer in more trade discussions.

It makes sense for the Lakers given its nucleus of D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram and Larry Nance Jr. The addition of George would provide the team a great floor spacer who shoots 38 percent from three on six attempts per game.

It’s far from a done deal though. In addition to a couple of lucky breaks in the draft which would allow the team to keep their 2017 pick, the Lakers would need a dance partner around the league. Mainly, in the Indiana Pacers.

Ten years ago, the savvy and well-connected Jerry Buss thought he had a handshake agreement in principle with Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. The deal was set to bring Kevin Garnett to the Lakers in exchange for Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom.

The pact fell apart when Timberwolves VP Kevin McHale helped former Celtics teammate Danny Ainge sign Garnett with Boston instead. Eventually Garnett would become part of Boston’s “Big Three” along with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. The trio went on to beat Bryant and the Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals.

Either way, George’s perceived interest will be a priority for Magic Johnson and the Lakers to pursue from now and throughout the offseason.