Fans of the old “Patty Duke Show,” in which lookalike teenagers caused all kinds of mistaken-identity mischief, will recognize what’s happening with Paul George and the Lakers.
Apparently there are two of him.
There is the Paul George who says he wants to win. And there is also the Paul George who wants to be a Laker.
One deals in hope, the other in fiction.
But since they both scored 23.7 points a game last season, can the Lakers assemble a 1-2 doppelganger punch, sort like the Klitschko brothers?
There is one way for the real Paul George, Palmdale native, to make sense of this. He can go somewhere to win the 2018 NBA championship, and then he can sign with the Lakers as a free agent.
Over the weekend his agent told the Pacers that George wouldn’t be returning after next season. That was interpreted as a betrayal in the Hoosier State, but George’s defenders say he was merely being out-front, preparing his one and only NBA team for the awful truth so they can take action.
Except now the Pacers have all the leverage of an ant picking up a sledgehammer.
They can hang onto George and listen to him get booed all year, and then get nothing for him next summer.
They can try to trade him to the Lakers, who of course might offer an old Smush Parker jersey and one of Norm Pattiz’s authentic rolled-up programs. Why should the Lakers pay extra today for a guaranteed cheeseburger tomorrow?
Or they can trade him to one of the two or three legitimate contenders, who would also be leasing George and would try to get away with offering zero-down. But Cleveland or Boston might spend the season buttering up George and convincing him he should play for titles half the year and spend the other half in L.A.
There are problems with that, too.
Boston has more first-round picks than Matt Barnes has tattoos. It also can customize a package to get Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, whose contract lasts one year longer than George’s and might fit better with the Celtics’…