The Indiana Pacers are expected to trade forward Paul George after the 27-year-old superstar informed the team that he will not be rejoining them after his contract expires in 2018 — prompting team president Kevin Pritchard to pursue a deal with any teams interested in George’s services, rather than let him walk for nothing next summer.
The Pacers have been in talks with various teams such as the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers in a trade involving George. However, it’s beginning to look as if any potential deal between the Pacers and one of these teams is in danger of fizzling out.
Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald reports that the Celtics are currently waiting to hear back from the Pacers regarding a trade for George, but consider Pritchard’s demands to be perhaps a bit too high.
League source: Celtics waiting to hear back from Indy's Pritchard, but consider his current demand for George unrealistic.— Mark Murphy (@Murf56) June 29, 2017
Earlier in the week, some details may have emerged regarding what would be swapped in a trade between the two teams:
I'm told #Celtics offer to IND for George is LAL/SAC pick from PHI, '19 MEM OR LAC pick, Crowder, $$ filler (Zeller pop name, Bradley poss).— Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) June 27, 2017
As stated, Boston would have to land Gordon Hayward in free agency for the Pacers to likely have any chance of such a trade happening. It makes sense, though. With Hayward and George both on Boston’s roster, they quickly become legitimate contenders in the Eastern Conference and could have a very good chance to make next year’s NBA finals. It is also worth noting that the Celtics’ current head coach, Brad Stevens, was Hayward’s head coach during Hayward’s three years at Butler University. Hayward to the Celtics isn’t as far-fetched as some may think. This can only help Indiana if they wish to deal George for something worthwhile.
Murphy also stated that Pritchard’s “last demand” was the Celtic’s two first-round draft picks in 2018, originally belonging to the Brooklyn Nets and the Lakers — which have a high chance of being in the top-10 come next year.
Source added that Pritchard's last demand was for next year's Nets and Lakers picks, plus starting player(s).— Mark Murphy (@Murf56) June 29, 2017
If Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge believes that the Pacers’ asking price for George is currently too high, you can begin to speculate that Pritchard wishes to acquire Avery Bradley in any kind of deal. After all, Bradley would provide Indiana with a reliable option in the backcourt who can score and defend well enough — and be a vastly superior two-guard against the likes of Monta Ellis.
While it may be difficult for fans to have to wait out any Paul George trade for now, it may be Pritchard’s best bet to carry this ordeal into the free agency period — which begins July 1 at midnight. He very well could be waiting for said dominos to fall for other teams interested in George, so that he can try to get maximum value for the Pacers in any deal.