Paul George has told the Indiana Pacers that he will leave the organization as a free agent after next season, according to The Vertical, which also reported that he would prefer to sign with the Lakers once he is a free agent.
And to part with either the 25-year-old Irving or the 28-year-old Love, both coming off All-Star seasons and on relatively economical long-term deals, without any verbal commitment from George that he planned to stay in Cleveland beyond 2018 would be "hard" to agree to, one source familiar with the Cavs' thinking told ESPN.
When the Cavs outlasted the Pacers 135-130 in overtime in March, with George scoring 43 points to James' 41, the Cavs' superstar recognized George with a post on Instagram.
#YoungKing13 #striveforgreatness🚀 After that game James also referred to George as a "big-time player," and when pressed further on his relationship with the Pacers swingman said, "We've got a really good friendship, I'm going to leave it at that." Making matters more complicated for Cleveland is the contract status of general manager David Griffin.
He entered the 2016-17 season on a lame-duck deal after failing to come to an extension agreement with owner Dan Gilbert in the summer of 2016 while the franchise was basking in the glory of the first championship for the city of Cleveland in more than 50 years.