During the early parts of the offseason, one of the most talked about players in the league was Paul George, as many expected him to be traded away from the Indiana Pacers as the team couldn’t afford to lose him for nothing in return at the end of next season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were considered a landing spot for the 27-year-old, as it would see George linking up with LeBron James. However, that didn’t happen, as the small forward was sent to the Oklahoma City Thunder instead in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
Last week, the Cavaliers found out they had an unrested player of their own, as Kyrie Irving revealed his desire to be traded away from the team this summer, with many believing it to be because he wants to lead a team like he was supposed to in Cleveland before James came back.
The 25-year-old has suggested he should be traded to either the San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks, Miami Heat or Minnesota Timberwolves, but a recent report has suggested he could have actually been traded to the Pacers at one point this offseason.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Pacers had Irving on their board as a number one target in exchange for George. They had a willingness to do a deal straight up, but the Cavaliers declined it on several occasions.
Wojnarowski has said as well there was another deal that would have sent Kevin Love to the Denver Nuggets, Gary Harris to Indiana, and George to Cleveland, but that didn’t happen either as the Cavaliers didn’t want to send the Pacers an unprotected draft pick.
Although George isn’t on the same level as Irving offensively, he is a more rounded player and exactly what Cleveland needs right now in order to win a championship before LeBron decides to jump ship, which is why this trade makes sense. George would help them get closer to winning a championship next season more than Irving.
Cleveland could have acquired George if they were willing to give up Irving, which they weren’t. The obvious reason is they wanted all three of James, Irving, and George on the same team, and not one or the other of the latter two.
Cavaliers’ general manager Dan Gilbert has already slammed the Pacers for trading George to the Thunder for next to nothing, but if he does the same for Irving later this summer, reminders of this trade which he left on the trade will be issued.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing.