We’ve known for more than a year that, if he decided to decline the player option for the final year of his current contract, Paul George would have at least some interest in joining the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency this summer. And yet, despite the eager-to-ascend Lakers evidently sharing that interest — like, they’ve really, really shared it, to the point that they have to remind everybody to stop sharing it so damn much — you’d be forgiven for thinking they’d only just gotten wind they might have a crack at the All-Star forward after reading the text of the “apparent recruiting pitch” for George’s services leaked to Sports Illustrated on Monday.
SI.com’s Robin Lundberg received copy for “a voiceover the Lakers plan on using with video” should they get a sit-down meeting with George. The 28-year-old small forward has until Friday to inform the Oklahoma City Thunder decide whether he’ll exercise the $20.7 million player option he holds for the 2018-19 season, or if he’ll choose to enter unrestricted free agency and test the market for the first time in his eight-year pro career.
What wonders await him should he choose to embark on a tour of prospective suitors that would eventually land him in a pitch sesh with the Lakers? Feast your eyes on the text of “Two Dreams,” the story of a lifelong love between a team and a hometown boy all grown up and hoping to make good:
When you were just a kid
In your room
Dreaming from Palmdale
We were dreaming too.
While you dreamt, we built – built for your arrival
And while we dreamt, you built too
Becoming one of the world’s greatest.
Life’s most powerful dream are the one we realize ourselves.
The ones that turn us into legends.
That kid from Palmdale always knew it
Now the world will, too
Here’s where we note that, as far back as George’s pre-draft workouts and throughout his seven-year tenure in Indiana, the Palmdale, Calif., native was telling people that he grew up a Los Angeles Clippers fan. (George adjusted that commentary last summer, for what it’s worth.)
Reading through a script that evokes nothing so much as Instagram poetry, you can understand why a high-profile free-agent-to-be might make it as clear as possible that he’s far less interested in sales pitches than he is in the meat and potatoes of how a suitor’s front office and ownership group plans to build a consistent championship contender. But then, maybe that’s just because I’m hearing it in my own awful voice, and not in the particular tone and timbre in which it was intended:
A person contacted to potentially audition for the voiceover was given directions that it should be “less Morgan Freeman/Denzel Washington, and more Jamie Foxx.”
Well, hell: that changes everything. Get me the contract and a pen, stat!
It remains to be seen what kind of production value the Lakers would put into the video component of their PG presentation, but at least we know that their fans continue to be extremely down for expressing their love of potential targets in giant block letters:
Attorney and Lakers season ticket holder Jacob Emrani, who put up 4 billboards recruiting LeBron in March, has paid for over 40 billboards for Paul George. There are six different designs, all have the #PG2LA with three designs including LeBron with George. Here’s one billboard: pic.twitter.com/xHoHaItlqC
— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) June 25, 2018
We’ll find out soon enough whether such audiovisual entreaties stirred George’s heart to move west. First, there’s the Friday deadline to opt in or hit the market; then, if he chooses the latter route, at 12 a.m. ET on Sunday, July 1, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent, and one of the most hotly sought-after ones on the market. And we’ll get to follow the whole thing … on “SportsCenter”?
SportsCenter will take viewers behind the scenes with the five-time NBA All-Star with exclusive and intimate access during his offseason in “Paul George: My Journey,” a three-part series that will debut in the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter on Tuesday, June 26.
George joined the Oklahoma City Thunder last season after seven years with the Indiana Pacers. As the series documents an important point in his career, the Los Angeles-area native will be shown speaking with trusted advisors and friends, including 12-time NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade.
Part 1 will examine George’s rise to NBA stardom while the second part, debuting June 28, will follow him during his off-court pursuits as he prepares to build on his career. Part 3, which will air after George’s NBA plans are made public, will give viewers a look at what’s next for George and how he arrived at his ultimate decision. All three parts will be approximately six minutes in length.
OK, so it’s not quite “The Decision” or whatever Antoine Griezmann just did; according to the press release, George won’t be making his free-agent call on ESPN, but rather will be providing video access to the proceedings in the form of six-minute chunks before and after the deed’s done. Here’s hoping that, when Part 3 rolls around, we get an in-depth breakdown of just how Jamie Foxx-y the voiceover actually wound up being.
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