Despite a 6-10 finish at best for the 49ers this season, Jimmy G fever is growing.
Everything looks better on a team with a quarterback in place who carries the aura of franchise passer and elevates his teammates’ play, as is the case so far with Garoppolo. 49ers veteran tackle Joe Staley believes the 26-year-old is the second coming of Tom Brady, Garoppolo’s mentor in New England.
I felt strongly before the 2017 draft that then-Cleveland GM Sashi Brown should have made Belichick an offer he could not refuse, including at least a first-round pick, in order to obtain Garoppolo. I was convinced of Garoppolo’s talent, smarts, leadership and poise under pressure after watching him lead New England to victories over good defenses in Arizona and Miami last season while Brady was suspended.
Instead, the door was left open for San Francisco to swoop in at the trade deadline and make a move that has changed the outlook within the organization and fan base.
The early signs suggest he may launch the franchise back to playoff contention and, possibly, Super Bowl glory.
There remains a whale out there — Paul George, who told the Pacers he wouldn’t re-sign in 2018 and got traded to the Thunder, and who is from Los Angeles. George and the Thunder visit the Lakers on Wednesday (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). But will George be that interested in the No. 29 team in the NBA after tasting some success with Westbrook in OKC? Adding Paul George to a core starring Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma doesn’t make a strong Western team. The Lakers need a package deal with DeMarcus Cousins or Isaiah Thomas — or the biggest whale of all, James — to really launch up the standings.
This is where you fall into the abyss: to really do this how Johnson and Pelinka apparently envision it, the Lakers — unable to land a single major talent in free agency and among the very worst teams in the league for several years now — either need to convince James to abandon his legacy in Cleveland and title chase to rebuild a legendary franchise for which he has no allegiance, or they need to convince two All-Star level free agents to join in one summer.