Pacers forward Paul George told Indiana brass yesterday that he intends to leave the team in 2018 and take his talents to Los Angeles.
The news didn’t come as a surprise to NBA fans. George, a California native, has been rumored to be heading out West for several years.
But speaking in front of reporters on Thursday, the former Fresno State star said he believed the Pacers are one of the best in the Eastern Conference and had the chance to challenge the Cavs for a Finals berth in 2017-2018.
So if George does leave Indiana, where could he end up?
Coming off a Finals loss in which the Cavaliers were completely overmatched by the Golden State Warriors’ length on the wing, George would be a perfect fit.
Kevin Love is a limited defensive player who struggled with the speed of the Warriors and was relegated to a spot up shooter on offense. The Cavs offer could include Love and 2015 second round pick Cedi Osman.
George could play next to LeBron and shoulder some the taxing offensive workload that he has been forced to carry since returning to Cleveland. Most importantly: He could guard Kevin Durant in a potential fourth consecutive Finals rematch.
If the Cavs are able to complete this trade, it signals they are going all in on the 2017-2018 season, as George would still be a likely candidate to bolt after one season in Northeast Ohio.
After trading out of the first spot in this years draft, the Celtics are loading up on picks and knowing GM Danny Ainge’s history, it appears they are looking to make a move for a superstar.
The Celtics have the assets to swing a trade with the Pacers and George would be a great fit In Brad Stephens’ system. A trade centered around a combination of picks and Avery Bradley or Jae Crowder would most likely satisfy the Pacers.
Los Angeles Lakers
If the Lakers don’t want to wait until next summer to sign Paul George, they could put together a package of young players to send to Indiana. Former number 2 overall picks D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram would most likely be included in the deal.
But smarter heads should prevail in Los Angeles. Everyone around the league saw how the Knicks’ trade for Carmelo Anthony drained the team of their once plush war chest of future assets.
George clearly wants to be a Laker and waiting a year to sign him into cap space in free agency is the more prudent move.
Los Angeles Clippers
We know George wants to be in L.A. but would he settle for playing on the Cippers?
If the Clippers are able to resign Blake Griffin, they would surely look to trade him midseason. The Clippers could put together a trade including Griffin, Austin Rivers, and Jamal Crawford.
But that deal wouldn’t seem to make much sense for the Pacers as they would be taking on several aging players with large contracts.
Here’s what we know: The Finals just ended and NBA summer drama is already ramping up. Get your Twitter fingers ready.