Indiana is one of the most storied basketball places on planet Earth. The local NBA team Indiana Pacers, however, have almost been a disappointment when you look at the bar the Hoosiers set in the 80s for Indiana basketball. So when future All-Star Paul George was taken at the 10th spot in 2010, Indiana basketball felt real again. With back to back Conference Finals appearances in 2013 and 2014, the sport was back on the map in Hoosier country.
All of that makes the turmoil surrounding the Pacers star’s future even more confusing. With only a year left on his contract and little to nothing to be found in Indiana, the cards are stacked against the team in their attempt to hold on to their franchise player. They may only get one more season at most with the 3 time All-NBA member barring a trade before he skips town completely.
So what should the Pacers do? Their situation is a desperate one no doubt. But as difficult as their circumstances are, there are only two places they could go as of right now-either ship off Paul George or do everything in their power to resign him before his contract is up and he winds up on the open market.
What makes this case even stickier is his value drops literally daily. With every rising sun brings his contract that much closer to ending and the harder it will become to sign him, no matter what team he is on. So this means that if the Pacers plan on making a move with him involved, they can’t wait to pull the trigger. If they wait too long, then they may miss out entirely on compensation for losing their franchise player.
Right now, Paul George has expressed heavy intent on going to the Los Angeles Lakers (which is only roughly 50 miles from his hometown of Palmdale), which puts the Pacers in an even tighter bind. Even if he doesn’t go to LA, the level of difficulty to resign him is high right now because he has conveyed zero interest in staying.
Indiana doesn’t have much to offer him besides money. With the reign of the Cavs, Warriors and the up and coming Celtics in full swing, Indiana is simply 7-8 seed cannon fodder. There are much greener pastures in the league and to waste his career on futile attempts to win a championship in Indiana is basically unwise, especially considering he is a high level player who can be an important cog on an actually Finals-caliber team.
This leaves Indiana with one choice then-the trade. Moving Paul George for young assets is the way to go, as they can get a decent amount for the All-Star regular instead of being forced to let him walk away for nothing because they couldn’t give him what he wanted.
The Clippers just moved 32 year old Chris Paul for 3 strong role players and 4 other solid depth players not to mention a first round selection and 661,000 dollars to the Rockets. It’s obvious the NBA is an a total arms race as of right now, trying to keep up with the juggernauts in Cleveland and Oakland and any team on the rise or even teams with a little glimmer of hope are doing whatever is possible to load up on big names, no matter the cost.
It would be silly of the Pacers to pass up on this opportunity. Teams are desperate to acquire whoever for whatever the trade partner wants to have any hope of standing up to the superteams plaguing the NBA. They could get an absolute king’s’ ransom for PG if they found the right partner.
So who should the Pacers send George for? And to who? Well, you came to the right place, fellow reader. These are the three best teams the Pacers should send Paul George to, complete with a legal deal that may even leave Indiana in a better place than before.
Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, 2019 1st (from Clippers) for Paul George
There is not a team in the league who can are as close as touching the Cavaliers dominance as the Celtics. With the extreme raw talent the team possesses right now highlighted by the selection of Jayson Tatum, the Celtics can afford the hit of a few promising prospects and a starting level forward for the star of Paul George. They enough young talent that would make it possible to rebuild even in Brooklyn and as a 1st seed level team, moving on from a few of those players will not hurt if they want to seriously compete for a championship.
It won’t be long until Jayson Tatum becomes an offensive star in the NBA if he develops as hoped. A Big Three of Tatum, George and Isaiah Thomas in a season or two is great enough to keep up with the Cavs and their Big Three. And with at least two more top picks in the upcoming drafts courtesy of the Nets, Lakers and Kings, the Celtics could easily contend with even the Warriors with the star potential alone. Throw Paul George in there and suddenly, they look dynasty worthy.
On Indiana’s side, they receive an athletic forward in Jaylen Brown, a player who can bud into a very good player with some patience and elbow grease, a certified starter in Jae Crowder and defensive and chippy Marcus Smart will be bonus enough for losing their franchise player.
Clint Capela, Trevor Ariza, Eric Gordon, Chinanu Onuaku, 2021 1st for Paul George
This trade completely guts Houston’s roster but if they want George as much as they say, there is no way Indiana will accept anything less than this. The Rockets lack promising youngsters and moved much of their best trade assets for Chris Paul so they will have to dig deep into their starting lineup and productive bench in order to land PG.
Houston is almost forced to trade their currently top young blood Clint Capela, productive starter Trevor Ariza, 6th man of the year Eric Gordon and prospect Onuaku if they want any chance at the George. They lack any other players that would even remotely entice Indiana and because of this, are strained to tear apart a solid roster for only a Big Three that can contend.
With free agency arriving soon, they can rebuild the barren roster with a few sturdy role players to put together a team but if the Rockets are as desperate as they say, this is the move they will have to make to get George.
Deal:Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, TJ McConnell, Justin Anderson, 2019 first
The 76ers are primed to put themselves back on the map this season with the selection of Markelle Fultz this past draft. With one of the brightest futures in the NBA, the 76ers almost have prospects to lose with the amount of upside on the roster. And who else to move those prospects for than Paul George.
It won’t be long until Joel Embiid is a superstar. He had an incredible showing this season and if he can stay healthy, there’s little doubt he can be great. He has proven himself valuable. Ben Simmons, on the other hand, has yet to play an NBA game. His ceiling is sky high but right now, he is a total wild card with how he will perform come October.
It may not be unwise to move him if the right deal arises and one for Paul George something to heavily consider.
George is a certified star and the veteran leadership will invaluable on a team trying to find their footing in an uncompetitive Eastern conference. A Big Three of Markelle Fultz, Joel Embiid and Paul George sounds a lot more versatile and dangerous than Fultz, Embiid, Simmons. With the Sixers primed to compete in a few seasons at the most, having PG’s star power around is only going to make them even more threatening in the East.
Rookie of the Year nominee Dario Saric has a solid career ahead of him and the potential to be a borderline All-Star level player is there. TJ McConnell is a decent young backup point guard which is something Indiana lacks and Justin Anderson is a reliable depth forward. The first just sweetens the deal. Indiana’s future will be in good hands after this deal.
In the end, it really doesn’t matter where Paul George goes. What matters is that Indiana gets young assets in return and pull the trigger early enough to get the deal they want. If not, they could lose him for nothing. The cards are in your hands, Pacers.