There’s word that other small- and mid-market team officials have reached out to the Pacers and told them, “Good for you. Fight the good fight.”
It’s hard enough for these lesser teams to retain their superstar players or to at least to receive a fair return for them in a trade. If the Lakers did indeed have impermissible contact with George’s camp this offseason (something that the NBA has confirmed they are investigating), it sets a worrisome precedent for mega-market giants to further undermine the league’s working class. Thus, it’s no wonder the Pacers are getting a good amount of sympathy for their cause.
There is that instance of Johnson reacting. There were also these tweets, although there’s no way they’re incriminating. There is also the strong possibility that some things happened behind the scenes that we aren’t aware of.
The Cleveland Cavaliers may be ruing the offseason of 2017 for a very long time.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, appearing on The Jump on Tuesday, said that the Cleveland Cavaliers were so close to closing a deal with the Indiana Pacers for Paul George that the player was about to be given the go-ahead to speak to Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.
“It was so close, in fact, that Indiana was about to give permission to Paul George to get on the phone with Dan Gilbert,” Wojnarowski said. “Indiana backed out of it and did the Oklahoma City deal.”
Amazingly, this is, according to reports, not the only deal for a star player that Cleveland almost had but didn’t get done. It doesn’t sound like there has been any lack of effort on Cleveland’s part to get LeBron James some help — but factors both within and beyond their control intervened.
Both teams have been criticized for their actions, so it’s no surprise they’re each trying to defend themselves. We’ll probably never really know what went on in the trade talks, but we do know that George ended up in OKC in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
Between the NBA Draft and free agency, the first month of the offseason is one of the most exciting times of year for basketball fans. Trades take place pre and post-draft, teams add new players via the draft, and then the wild free agency period begins on July 1.
Many teams have re-shaped their rosters. Some have lost talent, while others have made gains. Some moves have impacted organizations much more than others.
Here’s a look at 10 winners and losers from the NBA offseason so far.
1) Oklahoma City Thunder
Sam Presti strikes again. The Thunder have a rare situation where trading for Paul George, even purely as a rental, makes sense.
In 2017-18, Russell Westbrook will have some actual assistance from a second bonafide star in George, who can at least help Oklahoma City recover some of what they lost when Kevin Durant skipped town. Westbrook being the entire offense was fun, and led to some remarkable stat lines, but it’s not a long-term solution for winning.
What about the future? George will probably leave after the season, but the deal brings two other benefits aside from the obvious. First, Oklahoma City will have some cap flexibility even if he walks. Second, by making a deal like this, Presti and the Thunder have once again demonstrated to Westbrook that they are committed to building a talented group around him — which could help convince him to re-sign for the long haul when his number comes up next summer.
And after trading for George, Presti wasn’t done. He signed Patrick Patterson to a 3-year, $16.4 million deal to help make up for the loss of Taj Gibson. The Thunder are also bringing back defensive stalwart Andre Roberson on a completely reasonable three-year, $30 million contract.
Ellis is set to earn $11.2 million next season and has an $11.7 million player option for 2018-2019, so he has some leverage. There’s a decent chance the two sides will find some middle ground even with Ellis having only averaged 8.5 points and 3.2 assists per game this past year.
Ellis has played 13 NBA seasons and is still somehow only 31. He’s just two seasons removed from averaging 18.9 points per game with the Dallas Mavericks. Multiple teams would likely be willing to give him a shot if he can reach a buyout agreement with Indiana.
The Indiana Pacers have reportedly turned down at least one trade proposal from the Cleveland Cavaliers involving Paul George, but the two sides could revisit a deal down the road.
A report from ESPN over the weekend indicated that the Cavs and Pacers had discussions about a three-team trade with the Denver Nuggets that also involved Kevin Love. According to Sam Amico of FOX Sports, Indiana said no.
#Pacers denied #Cavs' and #Nuggets' hopes of 3-team deal centered on Paul George and Kevin Love. Teams may revisit. #NBA
Now that the draft has come and gone, the Pacers don’t need to be in any rush to deal George. They have openly stated that they will still look to trade him, as the 27-year-old informed the team he is not going to sign an extension next summer. However, there’s no reason Indiana can’t take its time and shop around for the best deal.
At least one other team that — unlike the Cavs — has plenty of draft capital is interested in acquiring George, and that team reportedly believes George would agree to an extension. While it’s obvious George has no future in Indiana, the Pacers can still try their best to start a bidding war.