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The Los Angeles Lakers have had four consecutive losing seasons and they are in the midst of their worst run in franchise history. They’re picking in the lottery again this year and they have several young players who could potentially be the future of the franchise.

If the Lakers are going to be a contender anytime soon, they’ll need to land at least one—and possibly multiple—marquee free agents in the near future. One upcoming free agent who has been frequently linked to the Lakers is current Indiana Pacers wing Paul George.

Related: One team reportedly confident it can sign Paul George, “encouraged” not to trade for him  

George, who will be a free agent after the 2017-18 season, is from southern California and he has expressed interest in playing for the Lakers. He also doesn’t want the Lakers to give up assets for him because he wants them to be in shape to be a contender when he arrives.

However, several other teams could potentially trade for George before next season despite his pending free agency. The Boston Celtics were linked to George at the last trade deadline, and several teams could take a chance on him if they want to contend for the 2018 NBA title.

Former Lakers player and coach and current analyst Byron Scott thinks the Lakers should trade for George now to remove any doubt next offseason.

Magic Johnson is now in charge of running the team, and he has mentioned in the past that the Lakers are likely looking ahead to the 2018 free agency class before they consider attempting to become a contender.

If the Lakers are confident in their ability to sign George next offseason, they shouldn’t risk trading away an asset like D’Angelo Russell or Julius Randle. Magic Johnson said only Brandon Ingram is untouchable as far as a trade is concerned though.

If Magic can trade assets for another star player, it might be worth it. But George is likely heading to Laker Land regardless, so Magic will likely ignore his former teammate’s advice and be patient.

(h/t Silver Screen and Roll)

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