Around last month’s NBA Trade Deadline, there were rumors surrounding perennial all-star Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, as to whether he would be moved or not. The Pacers have been hovering around .500 all season, and are currently sitting sixth in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
So the question began, whether the team could improve into a contender, or would need to blow up the roster in order to get younger and look towards the future. Indiana decided to push forward and make a late-season push, remaining silent as the February 23rd deadline passed. The team apparently did explore trades with George and guard Rodney Stuckey.
Pacers Looked at Dealing Paul George, Rodney Stuckey at Trade Deadline – https://t.co/iNs3OBb21y
— GREEN RUNS DEEP™☘ (@CelticsNation5) March 21, 2017
Eventually, the Pacers decided not to trade their superstar player. A few teams were linked to George including the Boston Celtics, and of course the Los Angeles Lakers, as George is from the city of L.A.
Paul also said he had major interest in joining in free agency after next season:
— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) March 21, 2017
It seems one team made an incredible push to trade for George, a team many might have not expected. That team would be the Philadelphia 76ers, who made an incredible offer that Indiana ultimately decided to pass on.
According to Kyle Neubeck of Liberty Ballers, the Sixers offered forward Robert Covington, a choice between young center’s Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor, and two first-round picks for the wing player’s services. While Noel ended up with the Dallas Mavericks, that deal would have fell through if Indiana pulled the trigger.
If the Pacers decided to go through with the trade, it would have gave them a good young center to match with up and coming star Myles Turner, a good “Three-and-D” wing player in Covington, and two first-rounders to help build the rest of the roster with young talent. The trade could backfire however, as Covington’s ceiling is about tapped out, and while Noel and Okafor have flashed potential, they have also had their troubles on and off the court.
Add in that George has played incredibly well lately averaging 25.7 points, and 7.7 rebounds per-game on 49% shooting in March, basically keeping the Pacers from collapsing, they may feel good about their decision. It could be a crazy summer for George, as it’s certain that several teams will be loading up for services, as ESPN’s Zach Lowe has highlighted teams that are already possible suitors.