Try to imagine Paul George being announced for the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse during the home opener for the upcoming season.
This after PG made it known he doesn't want to play for the Pacers. Sure he never said he wouldn't mind playing the final year of his contract in Indy, but if he doesn't want to play in 2018-19 why bother with 2017-18.
This would also assume the Pacers were unable to deal PG for anything of value over the next few weeks, which isn't hard to imagine since he's fully depressed the market by urging the Lakers not to trade for him while also letting other teams know he will not sign regardless of how well things work out during a rental year.
By the time opening night rolls around, I'm assuming PG-13 would elicit a few cheers, many more boos but also a lot of meh. The visceral reaction of rejection will be long gone.
Ric Bucher reports that this scenario is in play for the Pacers after the initial push for a quick deal didn't return the asking price Kevin Pritchard hoped it would.
One team front-office source said Pritchard's asking price is "picks and young players," while another said a "realistic" return would be "a good young player and a second-round pick" for any team looking at George as strictly a one-year rental.
That's why several league executives anticipate it will be later rather than sooner that Pritchard moves George, possibly even sometime during the season.
"They're going to drag this out," says an Eastern Conference senior VP. "It's always possible somebody jumps out there and offers a lottery pick and a starter, but there's a better chance that teams sit back and wait to see if they're one piece away. It's a big risk. You give too much for a guy who then walks, it could set you back two, three years."
Bucher also reported that Pritchard initially tried to create a bidding war between Cleveland and Golden State, but Cleveland was soon off to other things like replacing their GM and working on a deal for Jimmy Butler instead. So without a viable deal by Thursday or at least by July 1, the best option may be to hold onto PG, as opposed to just adding a couple of players without draft picks.
If that's the case, why would the Pacers want to play PG during the season? He could drive up his trade value by playing well, sure, but then the Pacers might actually win more games and hamper their rebuilding effort in the process.
What if they 'Tinsley'd' PG instead? Keep him active and healthy but let him fish on Geist until the season plays out a month or two and teams develop a need to trade for PG.
Honestly, the 'Tinsley' options seems more reasonable at this point which emphasizes just how crazy the PG situation is as we wait for draft night on Thursday.