Paul George has been a hot name in NBA trade talks, but he should not be traded despite the rumors. If the season ended now, the 15-16 Indiana Pacers would hold the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference.
Trading George would end Indiana’s season immediately, and would take them out of the playoff picture. Indiana must hold onto the face of their franchise if they want to stay relevant, not just for this season, but for many more to come.
For a trade to be enticing enough for Indiana to be willing to get rid of their star, a team would have to be willing to give up numerous first rounders. Any team willing to give up the number of draft picks required to get George out of Indiana would deplete their future. No NBA team wants to give up too many draft picks, making it hard for Indiana to trade the small forward even if they want to.
Although Indiana may not have a chance to win the title, management cannot expect a title when they fail to surround George with other stars. Monta Ellis may be a well-known name, but never in his career has he been a proven winner.
Rather than trade George, Indiana should focus on finding pieces to put around him so they can return to the Eastern Conference Finals like they did in 2013. Larry Bird and the rest of the front office should try to emulate this success by finding players George could see himself playing with. Maybe that team completely overachieved, but the pieces they had fit.
— The Players’ Tribune (@PlayersTribune) December 22, 2016
Other teams performing far worse than Indiana have pieces they are willing to trade away knowing they have no chance at making the postseason. The Pacers need to focus their time on getting a guy like Evan Fournier from the Orlando Magic or Goran Dragic from the Miami Heat rather than work on looking for a deal for George.
Adding either Dragic or Fournier could turn Indiana into a potential playoff team into one that would nearly be guaranteed to make the postseason.
Indiana may not be able to compete with the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, but with some of the youth, they may be able to compete for a title in the future. Now is certainly not time to blow up the roster. Indiana must focus on building around George as they look to become competitive within the next few seasons.