8:39pm: The Pacers are asking all teams for trade ideas but would ideally net a pair of first-round picks and a starter, David Aldridge of TNT tweets.
Regardless, Zach Lowe of ESPN adds that the club is intent on finding a deal fast.
6:42pm: As we broke down earlier today, Paul George has informed the Pacers that he doesn’t intend to return to the franchise when he hits free agency next offseason. Although the Lakers appear to be the forward’s preferred destination, one place he could end up in the meantime is Cleveland, as Adrian Wojnarowski writes for The Vertical and Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio confirms.
Not surprisingly, after receiving word that George has no intention of returning to the Pacers, president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard has been aggressively seeking trade partners potentially interested in a rental. Considering that, per Nate Jones of the Indianapolis Star, Pritchard only learned about this Saturday, it’s been a busy 24 hours.
While Wojnarowski writes that the Cavaliers lack the young players and lucrative draft picks that the Pacers may seek for George, they’re one of the few teams who could directly benefit from what appears likely to be a simple one-year All-Star rental.
Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com quickly weighed in on the revelation that Cleveland and Indiana have been in touch, going so far as to suggest that the Cavs could dangle Kevin Love. Still, Vardon cautions, even that may be too much for a player apparently destined to leave for Los Angeles.
An inevitable George departure in 2018, though, may not be so inevitable after all. Vardon adds that competing in the NBA Finals next season (something Cleveland has made a habit of recently) could convince George to stick around in Ohio.
It’s a theory shared by Bobby Marks of The Vertical, who tweets that the Lakers may not want to sit idly by under the assumption that George will end up in Los Angeles next summer.
“Sitting on the sideline for Paul George could backfire in Los Angeles,” he tweets. “Short term could turn long-term when surrounded by a championship level team.”
At the end of the day, speculation will continue to pour in surrounding George’s eventual departure, inevitably casting the Pacers into temporary chaos. In the mind of Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star, however, the Pacers can only blame themselves for where they find themselves.
“Way to miss the essence of Paul George. Way to miss the obviously closing, now completely shut window to salvage your franchise. Way to doom the Pacers to irrelevance for the foreseeable future,” the scribe pens.