Paul George has dropped a huge bombshell on the Indiana Pacers after informing them that he will be leaving the franchise next year.
According to multiple reports, George’s agent told Indiana’s new president Kevin Pritchard that he will be opting out of his deal in 2018 in search of pastures new.
The Pacers have also reportedly been told by the small forward’s representatives that he prefers to join the Los Angeles Lakers.
In light of that, further reports have emerged indicating that Indiana has begun engaging teams in trade talks for PG13, with a call made to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
With that in mind, here are the three best trade possibilities for George:
Having just lost in the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors, the Cavs must make a move to try and topple the juggernaut from Oakland next year.
The addition of Kevin Durant proved to be the difference for the Warriors as they not only dominated the Cavaliers, but the entire league. LeBron James and his current troops simply don’t stand a chance against this Golden State team and therefore must look to add more star power to their roster.
George’s name was immediately mentioned in the aftermath of the Finals and with reports surfacing that the two franchises have held talks, this could be a move that bridges the gap with the men from the Bay Area.
However, unlike the Warriors, Cleveland doesn’t have the cap space to accommodate four All-Stars. Therefore any potential move would have to include Kevin Love as he’s the only viable asset they have to give up. It’ll be interesting to see if they’re willing to do this as PG, LBJ and Kyrie Irving could form a devastating offence.
Los Angeles Clippers
The small forward position has been a problem for the Clippers for a number of years and this could be a perfect opportunity for them to rectify it.
George has his eyes set on joining the Lakers but his priority is to move to Los Angeles. A move to the Clippers, who already have multiple All-Stars and a championship-winning head coach, could potentially convince him to sign a long-term deal if he were to be traded to Doc Rivers’ team.
Like the Cavs, the Clippers cannot afford four All-Stars and will have to give up some valuable assets in the deal. This will be made difficult by the fact that both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are free agents this summer.
Not only are they not guaranteed to re-sign, it’ll be unlikely that the Clippers tie them down to long-term max deals and immediately ship one of them off to Indiana.
This appears to be the most likely destination for the four-time All-Star via a trade. The Celtics have the cap space and the assets to make this deal happen.
They own multiple first-round draft picks over the next two years and the Pacers would be willing to accept these as it could allow them to find a young star in the draft to rebuild around.
The deal could also include a player such as Jae Crowder. But it would represent a gamble as there’s no guarantee that the 27-year-old will sign an extension in Boston and with the shrewd dealer that Danny Ainge is, he’d take that into serious consideration.
The C’s are also expected to make a move for free agent Gordon Hayward who plays in the same position and if they manage to sign him in free agency, they won’t need to acquire George. The next couple of weeks will be hugely interesting to see how things unfold.