At the trade deadline this season, there were a lot of rumors about whether certain star players were available or not. One of the biggest names mentioned was Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, who made it clear that he wants to be contending for a championship.
Rumors quickly swirled around George with multiple reports stating that the Palmdale native would like to join his hometown Lakers if the Pacers are unable to build a championship contender. The Boston Celtics, with their plethora of draft picks and young talent were also rumored as a potential landing spot for George.
Nate Taylor of the Indianapolis Star recently sat down with Pacers owner Herb Simon, who told him that the Pacers received plenty of offers for George but never gave it serious consideration:
Q: Was there any real consideration in trading George before the deadline in February?
A: Basically, we were offered a lot of things. We didn’t even think of taking any of them. (President) Larry (Bird) will give you a better feel for it, but the answer is you can’t stop people from making offers. But it wasn’t any question of accepting any of them.
George can opt-out of his contract in 2018 which doesn’t give the Pacers much time to improve their roster from their current seventh-seed. Simon, however, made it clear that he believes he can build around George:
Q: Do you believe you can win a championship with George?
A: Of course.
This offseason will be key in the Pacers figuring out whether they truly can rise in the standings and contend for a championship. If they are unable to vastly improve the roster, they may have no choice but to consider shopping George or risk losing him for nothing.
George remains one of the best two-way players in the NBA and interest will be high if he becomes available. The Lakers are committed to improving their roster and getting back into the league’s elite sooner rather than later. Finding away to acquire someone like George would undoubtedly be a step in the right direction.