Washington Wizards All-Star guard John Wall told ESPN's The Undefeated that he is recruiting Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George, in hopes that George will push for a trade to the nation's capital.
George has no intention of staying with the Pacers beyond the expiration of his current contract in June 2018. The Los Angeles-area native is intrigued by the possibility of joining the Lakers, sources previously told The Undefeated. The four-time All-Star also is being pursued by the Cleveland Cavaliers in a trade, sources previously told ESPN.
Wall, however, hopes his buddy ends up in Washington.
"I am talking to some guys -- Paul. I know his ultimate goal of where he wants to be. I'm trying to see if we can make something happen," Wall told The Undefeated before the NBA awards show on Monday night.
Wall and the Wizards lost to the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals in May. The Wizards currently have two elite players in Wall and sharpshooter Bradley Beal, and the former believes George is the missing piece to their starting lineup.
Wall also believes George can help Washington get over the hump to be a title contender and could counter Cavaliers star LeBron James.
The Wizards have had trade conversations with the Pacers, a source told The Undefeated. The source added that the Pacers have been patient and that no deal with the Wizards is close at the moment.
"Look at our team. We are one piece away," Wall said. "We have the point guard, we have the shooting guard, we have the center, we have the power forward. Our 3-man [Otto Porter Jr.] did great for us. You can't take nothing away from what he did. But [George] is a guy that can guard LeBron and go back at LeBron. It's a piece that you're going to need to win. If you don't have a guy who can do that, you don't have a chance. ...
"You got to add another star. You got to add another piece. You got to have three guys. And that's what it's looking like."
Wall was the first overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft out of Kentucky; George was the 10th overall pick out of Fresno State the same year. Wall said he and George began building a friendship during that draft.
"We've been friends, and we've talked throughout the summer," Wall said. "He has to make a decision that is comfortable to him. But at the end of the day, you always have to get [elite players]. You have to go out swinging. You got to get a yes or a no."
Asked about the Wizards' chances to get George, Wall said: "Right now, I don't know. Indiana has all the rights to do whatever they want. And if he goes where he doesn't want to go, he doesn't have to sign next year."