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Miller: Paul George faces Lakers, who value him so much they have already paid a price

By in Press Enterprise on January 4, 2018

By Jeff Miller

LOS ANGELES — He called the accusations “kind of crazy” and “kind of comical,” and that was before he intimated that the Lakers were penalized $500,000 for talking about fishing.

Fishing? Wasn’t this actually poaching?

“It is what it is,” Paul George explained Wednesday, when he really meant it was what it wasn’t.

The small forward with the big appeal, visiting Staples Center with the rest of the Oklahoma City Thunder, returned home for the first time since the Lakers were fined for tampering with him – something George said never occurred.

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Tampering is considered a no-no in the NBA, the league preferring that teams refrain from negotiating with players who are already under contract with other teams. Seems fair enough.

Reports in August indicated that the penalty was the result of an improper discussion between Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and George’s agent, Aaron Mintz.

But George said his former employers, the Pacers, were upset about conversations he had with Brian Shaw, a Lakers assistant coach and someone he worked with while both were in Indiana.

George, who called Shaw a “mentor,” suggested the two talked only about “fishing and challenging each other on fishing trips.”

I don’t know. I’d think a mentor and his pupil would discuss topics with a little more depth than that, but who knows, some people are really into fishing, I guess.

Anyway, whatever happened last summer doesn’t matter now, not compared to what will happen next summer, when, based on overall sentiment, everyone plus a few people expect George to sign as a free agent with the Lakers.

He grew up about 70 miles from downtown L.A., in […]    

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