Paul George Pacers Future: Time to move on?

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Paul George
Could Paul George be on the move? Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Paul George Pacers. 

It’s a phrase that’s currently in question, as the Paul George Pacers tenure could all end during the offseason. Paul George Pacers may very well be Paul George Lakers by the end of the offseason. Either way, it could be very different. 

The All-Star wing has spent his entire career thus far in Indiana where he helped bring back the tradition of Indiana basketball. His rise to stardom is amazing, to be honest. Once a 3-star prospect lightly recruited by schools, George has suddenly transformed himself into one of the best players in the league. 

Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Paul George’s rise has been spectacular, starting as a 3-star prospect to gaining the respect of LeBron James himself. Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

He has led the Pacers to numerous playoff berths even a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals where he pushed LeBron James to a 7-game series in 2013. He led the Pacers to another ECF trip in 2014 but again fell to LeBron and the Miami Heat. Since those two ECF trips, they have yet to get back to elite status.

This current season was supposed to be one where Paul George’s Pacers make a run at the ECF again. With the additions of Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young, the Pacers seemed poised for a deep playoff run. 

Sugarcoating it, they weren’t close.

 The Pacers were inconsistent during the regular season, finishing 42-40 and having to win as much as they could towards the end of the season just to squeak into the playoffs. They finished strong to end the regular season and immediately were presented with a tough first round matchup, the Cavs.  

Before they were at that point, however, turmoil started around the trade deadline, when rumors started flying out. 

Rumors of trade talks involving George started flying throughout the league with teams like the Celtics and Lakers reportedly in the mix for the All-Star wing. Talks obviously went nowhere but it was becoming clear that Paul George’s future with Indiana could become bleaker, especially if they couldn’t succeed as a team. 

Fast forward to the end of the first round of the playoffs. The Pacers, fresh off a sweep courtesy of the Cavs, are back to square one.

Paul George
Could Paul George Pacers suddenly turn to Paul George Lakers or Celtics? Via: Getty Images

Paul George: Pacers future. 

Larry Bird has recently stepped down from his role of team President and has reportedly believed that George would leave Indiana once his contract is up. Suddenly, Paul George’s future with the Pacers is more ambiguous than ever. 

Should Indiana trade him this coming off-season? If so, what teams would be able to trade for him and be the best fit?

The Facts

Paul George still has one year remaining on his current contract before he is an unrestricted free agent. So that gives the Pacers plenty of time to ponder on it right? Not quite. 

The more they wait out on trades, the less value Indiana would get in return. It isn’t because of Paul George’s skill that gives off less value, but the fact that teams wouldn’t want to trade a lot of assets for someone who is about to enter free agency. 

Trading Paul George in the offseason would assure them a substantial amount of assets in return. They have a terrific young piece in place with Myles Turner, so they can easily rebuild quicker.

It is also important to note that Paul George could receive an extra $70 million from Indiana should he make one of the All-NBA teams. If he makes one of those teams, then Indiana could offer $200 million and that could very well be a deciding factor for George. If he doesn’t make an All-NBA team, then they can’t offer him that $200 million contract. That would mean settling for around a max of $180 million.

Verdict

Given the circumstances currently surrounding George and the Pacers, it might be best if both sides move on from each other. With Larry Bird stepping down, there seems to be no clear direction at the moment for the Pacers.

A trade would allow Paul George to start new elsewhere and would also allow the Pacers to rebuild.

What team(s) can trade for him and serve as the best fit for George?

A player of PG’s caliber would be welcomed by any team, but only a few can actually make a move for him and assure he fits in, basketball-wise. Teams that match that criteria are the Lakers and Celtics. 

Paul George Pacers —-> Paul George Lakers?

George is/was reportedly “hell-bent” on joining the Lakers and hasn’t been shy about letting his teammates know about his desire to play for the Lakers. George is a So-Cal native so he would definitely welcome playing for his hometown team. In a basketball sense, it could also fit because LA’s system would allow George to do what he does best. More importantly, the Lakers have the assets to offer to Indiana. They have their fair share of young talent and picks (if they keep it) to entice the Pacers.

Paul George
Could this be a duo? Via: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Paul George Celtics?

The Celtics have long been wanting to acquire a star wing player whether it be Jimmy Butler, PG, or KD. With the crazy amount of picks and assets they have available, they can easily acquire someone like PG. The Celtics could also use another scoring option besides Isaiah Thomas which gives a good fit.

Paul George
Could Paul George be a Celtic? Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

What’s next for Indiana?

Should they decide to trade Paul George, they can rebuild quickly around Myles Turner and the assets they receive. If they want to roll the dice, they would have to make sure he stays content in Indiana. Anything short of impressive could mean a bad basketball situation for Indiana. Paul George Pacers? That may change should Indiana decide to move their franchise player.

*Featured photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images*

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