The Golden State Warriors just dismantled the Cleveland Cavaliers to win the 2017 NBA championship eight days ago, and it didn’t take long for NBA trade rumors to start rolling out. From Paul George, to Jimmy Butler, to the recently reported Kristaps Porzingis, NBA trade rumors are crazy right now, and there’s bound to be a lot of shake up. Paul George is likely the first domino to fall with the Pacers wanting to move quickly, so let’s dig into this situation a little more.
First of all these trade rumors shouldn’t be any surprise to anyone as they started back at the trade deadline this year. The Pacers should have traded him while value was at its highest, but Larry Bird held on to him thinking they could put a winning team around him and get him to resign in 2018. That wasn’t the case, and now PG13 has made it clear that he is LA bound summer of ’18. By doing so George essentially eliminated any leverage the Pacers dreamed of having. There are a number of teams interested in George, but the biggest players to trade for him look to be the Cavs, Lakers, Clippers, and Wizards. Here’s a look at each unique situation:
The Cleveland Cavaliers don’t have the cap room or the assets to make the trade straight up for PG13, so they will have to find a third team to get it done. There have been lots of rumors swirling around that this third team could be the Suns in a trade sending Kevin Love down to sunny Arizona. The question here is, are the Suns willing to part with the necessary assets to help the Cavs out here, and to take on Kevin Love?
The Los Angeles Lakers, likely to get Paul George via free agency in 2018 anyways, are interested in trading and locking George up right now. Trading for George would be easy given the Lakers assets. But since George let his little secret out, the Lakers have all the leverage and reportedly will not give up #2 or Brandon Ingram, for a player they are destined to get next summer.
The Los Angeles Clippers are in a unique situation. The Clippers aren’t the Los Angeles team that PG13 has been linked to, but they’re rumored to want George as bad as anyone. The Clippers ave they have their own star free agents to be worried about in Chris Paul, and Blake Griffin. Both are UFA, and have a real shot at bolting themselves. The Clips think that trading for George will convince Paul and Griffin to stay and they’ll finally have a shot out West. The problem is they’d have to acquire him through sign and trade, leaving Reddick as the main piece of the deal. Don’t see that one happening.
Lastly, the Washington Wizards. The nations capital is obviously far from being LA, but the Wizards feel if they can pull off a trade centered around Otto Porter, then Wall and Beal could talk Paul George into resigning. Though this move would likely turn them from pretenders to Eastern Conference contenders. That’s a huge risk for a guy who has openly said he will be heading to Cali next summer, not just once but numerous of times. Not sure that an Eastern Conference Finals appearance would change his mind about that.
As with any NBA trade rumor, there’s plenty of unknowns here and still a lot to play out. Will PG13 bolster the Cavs star power? Will George end up in LA a summer before he originally planned? Or does George end up with a darkhorse like the Wizards to form their own Big 3 and try to dismantle The King? The Pacers have already expressed that they hope to move quickly on this deal and if I had to make a guess, I’d guess George isn’t on the Pacers by Thursdays draft, but he isn’t LA bound either. But If there’s one thing for certain, it’s that the competition in the NBA will finally be more broad in the years to come. This offseason is bound to be one hell of a ride, so hold on to your seats!