The Indiana Pacers had to have known there was a legitimate chance Paul George wouldn’t sign an extension with the team, but that didn’t make the official word any easier to handle.
After the NBA Draft Thursday night, Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard revealed that he has not spoken to George since before the 27-year-old informed the team he plans on leaving after next season. When Pritchard received the call from George’s agent, he says he was devastated.
“For me it was gut punch,” Pritchard said, via Nate Taylor of the Indianapolis Star. “It was a total gut punch because we had many conversations over the summer about players that we’d like to add, a little bit of a style we’d like to play. In my opinion, I was very inclusive with (George) and the message over the summer up until this weekend was, ‘Let’s build a winning team.’ When that came in that he wanted to look at another place, it was gut punch for us.”
Pritchard was obviously upset on a personal level, but he was also unhappy with the way information leaked revealing George intends to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers when he becomes a free agent next summer. That has made trading George far more difficult.
“Becoming public was a big issue,” Pritchard said. “The conversation with his agent was very challenging.”
Pritchard said he is still confident a trade will be completed before the season. In reality, the report about George wanting to play for the Lakers shouldn’t have affected much. Any team interested in trading for him is going to inquire about George signing an extension next offseason, and they would have likely learned of his intentions at that point.
The Indiana Pacers do not appear to be in any great rush to push Paul George out of town.
Sources told Nate Taylor of the Indianapolis Star that a George trade does not appear imminent prior to Thursday’s NBA Draft, and while the Pacers have offers on the table, they do not feel like they have to get a deal done by then.
Taylor lists the Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Washington Wizards as teams that have engaged the Pacers in trade talks, but none of their offers have satisfied Indiana general manager Kevin Pritchard enough to pull the trigger.
The Pacers believe offers may become better after the draft, and are willing to let the situation linger through the summer and even into training camp, if necessary.
Paul George has reportedly informed the Indiana Pacers that he is not going to sign an extension with the team, and the trade talks surrounding the star forward are heating up as a result.
Yes, they even involve the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports that the Pacers have had early discussions with the Cavs about the possibility of a George trade. With George said to be leaning toward signing with the Los Angeles Lakers next summer, the expectation is that he would only be a rental for a team like Cleveland.
The Pacers reportedly have not reached out to the Lakers, which makes sense because L.A. is unlikely to give up much if they can just sign George in a year. Wojnarowski notes that Indiana is asking for “a substantial package of talent and draft picks for George,” but they seem unlikely to get that much unless George agrees to sign an extension with the trade partner.
If George does end up going to some team as a one-year rental, the Cavs make sense. Cleveland could create its own super-team with George, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, and the Cavs might even be able to get George to change his mind about signing with the Lakers if things go well.
George grew up in L.A., and there have been numerous reports indicating he is intent on signing with the Lakers next summer. Because of that, the Lakers really have no reason to offer much in a trade for the 27-year-old. They’d rather wait another season than give up anything of significant value.
Indiana’s best chance at trading George could be to a contending team that feels the worst case scenario would be renting George for a season. Ideally, that team would be able to take the next year to convince George to sign an extension. However, without an assurance from George that he won’t bolt for L.A. when he becomes a free agent, the return for the Pacers will likely be quite low.
If the Pacers believe there is no way they can convince George to stay, they might have to take whatever they can get for him this offseason. We know one team fans are going to be thinking of that would make for an exciting landing spot.
Larry Bird is stepping aside as president of basketball operation for the Indiana Pacers, according to a report.
Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical reported Friday that Bird, who has served in the position for all but one season sine 2003, will step down and move to a consultant role, with general manager Kevin Pritchard taking up the position.
Larry Bird is stepping down as Pacers president, league sources tell @TheVertical. Kevin Pritchard will take over basketball operations.
Bird retired after the 2011-12 season citing health concerns, but returned to the post after just one season away. The 60-year-old will no longer have to oversee the difficult decisions, particularly the one surrounding this star player, that are going to come over the next year or two.
Indiana Pacers point guard Jeff Teague is set to become an unrestricted free agent, but he has voiced his desire to stay with his hometown team.
The Indianapolis native said after Sunday’s season-ending loss to Cleveland that he’d prefer to stay with the Pacers.
“I love Indiana,” Teague said, via Lang Whitaker of NBA.com. “You all know me, born and raised, tattoos on my arm. I’ve wanted to play for the Pacers my whole life. It’s a great opportunity for me and I love to be here.”
Teague played in all 82 games for the Pacers during the regular season, averaging a productive 15.3 points and 7.8 assists per game. He turns 29 in June, so logically, he still has some good years left in him, but he’ll have options outside of Indiana on the open market.
McMillan is in his first year as Pacers head coach, so he would stand a decent chance of surviving any clear-out. The real issue may be with their superstar forward Paul George, who may have eyes elsewhere and could ultimately have to make a decision on his future this summer. The Pacers fading like they have won’t make him feel any better about the team’s future.