Paul George is the latest NBA superstar to find his way to forefront of trade rumors, set to become a free agent after one more season with the Indiana Pacers.
Teams are going to be keeping a very close eye on what happens with George over the next several months. Rumors indicate that the Pacers haven't opened up the door to see what kind of trade offers may be waiting for them, but eventually they'll have to.
George is a franchise-altering talent currently stuck on a team without a supporting cast. The Pacers' biggest hope is that Myles Turner will take a step forward in his third year in the NBA, but that's nowhere near enough to get over the obstacle that is LeBron James in the East.
That's one of many reasons George's name is pulsing red hot with trade rumors as the NBA inches closer toward the offseason. The NBA Draft is the first major event where blockbuster trades can go down, and the big day is just over two weeks away.
With that, we decided to take a look at five destinations that would be great for George's future.
The Rockets were one of the biggest surprise teams of the year, becoming an entirely different beast under the guidance of head coach Mike D'Antoni and hot hand of James Harden. They'd flame out against the San Antonio Spurs, but Year 1 for the new-look Rockets was solid.
Dwight Howard's departure was one of the reasons Houston was able to push the pace and space the floor, but that also left them without a superstar tag partner for Harden. Enter George, who would give them a dominant perimeter player that complements James perfectly.
He'd give Houston the lockdown perimeter defender it needs while giving the Rockets' offense a dynamic outside of being all-Harden-everything. Plus, this gets George out of the Eastern Conference, where he's been eliminated by LeBron numerous times.
The Celtics might be the likeliest team to try and swing for the fences with a blockbuster offer for George. Boston was reportedly interested in both Jimmy Butler and George around the trade deadline but nothing came to be.
The Celtics reached the Eastern Conference Finals with a strangely-constructed roster that seems to work right now, but the amount of assets and future draft picks they have make it clear general manager Danny Ainge is stocking up for something bigger.
The answer might be adding George into the equation, acquiring one of the best players in the conference to help overcome LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Boston would still have plenty of firepower even if they traded some of their valuable young pieces, too.
Don't be surprised if you hear more and more about the Celtics' interest in landing George as the NBA Draft draws nearer. They have the No. 1 pick to barter with, along with the Brooklyn Nets' unprotected 2018 first round pick as well.
The red, white and blue squad in Los Angeles could use a shakeup, and might be in for one if Blake Griffin and/or Chris Paul leave for greener pastures in free agency this summer. Should only one of them leave, though, it might be time to find a superstar replacement.
The problem with this is the Clippers don't have very much to offer Indiana, but this isn't about the best offer for Indiana. Hypothetically this is actually a potential great spot for George, bringing him home to Southern California while adding a superstar to a perennial playoff team.
The Clippers have had issues at small forward for years and George would immediately address them.
One of the most compelling and up-and-coming teams in the Eastern Conference are the Wizards, who look like the real deal in many ways. John Wall has improved every year, Bradley Beal finally is the real deal and Otto Porter has become a solid third wheel.
George would be a huge boost for the Wizards, perhaps enough of a bump to put them in contention with Cleveland. The NBA has become an arms race, and the Wizards simply looked overmatched this season.
Add George and suddenly Washington could be in the conversation with the Cavaliers, and that's a dangerous team in D.C.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have to be the favorite to eventually land George, though. There's no secret that Magic Johnson has his eyes on making PG13 the superstar his young team can rally around, and the California native and self-admitted Kobe Bryant megafan would be a great fit.
Sure, George wants to contend for titles, but reports indicate that he believes he can be the catalyst the Lakers need to turn their fortunes around. There are plenty of places George could go, but safe money is on an eventual move to the Lakers.
The Lakers are trying to move forward, have an attractive young core for George to join and a rich history that he understands and could want to embrace. The only catch? The Lakers might be better served waiting until he becomes a free agent in 2018, keeping all of their pieces while they await a major domino to fall their way next summer.