The NBA trade rumors are heating up in the offseason as a Paul George trade to the Cavs from the Pacers is reportedly being discussed. The latest news comes not long after the Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that George informed the Indiana Pacers that he would be leaving the team as an unrestricted free agent after the 2017-18 NBA season. That particular discussion was made so that his longtime team could potentially work out a trade, rather than simply losing George for nothing in return. While George indicated the Los Angeles Lakers were his preferred team when he leaves the Pacers, it looks like another possibility may have opened up.
As ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported earlier on Monday, the Cleveland Cavaliers have started reaching out to interested teams to see who they might be able to work out a deal with. Among those teams are the 2016 NBA Champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers. The caveat to all this is that there seem to be just two players that Indiana could use to entice Cleveland to make a deal. Those players just so happen to be fellow NBA All-Stars Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. Will the Cleveland Cavs be willing to part with either of these valuable stars in order to bring Paul George to the roster?
Of the two names mentioned, most trade rumors have focused on the possibility of George being swapped for Kevin Love and possibly another player. It would make for Love’s third team during his career; he was traded several seasons ago from Minnesota to Cleveland as part of a deal for top draft pick Andrew Wiggins. Love had season averages of 19 points and 11.1 rebounds a game in about 31 minutes per contest. For the playoffs, Love’s scoring dipped to 16.8 points, but he had 10.6 rebounds as well as at least a block and steal per game.
Kyrie Irving seems to be a less likely trade asset just based on his age, upside, and what he put on display during the NBA Finals. Having a trio of Kyrie Irving, Paul George, and LeBron James also seems to be more capable of contending with the stars the Golden State Warriors currently possess. Many analysts have been touting the fact that Paul George would provide better defense on the 2017 NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant.
It may be hard for the Cavs to part with Love as well, as he is coming off an All-Star season, despite being injured right before he was set to appear in the annual game. Love is 28 and still offers some great potential for the team, and a source “familiar with the Cavs’ thinking” told ESPN they may not trade Love or Irving for a player who wouldn’t give verbal commitment to stay beyond next season.
Still, there are those people who also believe the “championship culture” in Cleveland would convince George to stay on board longer than just a season. The team is clearly considered the best of the Eastern Conference just by association with LeBron James, with other teams in the conference scrambling to build their rosters to compete. As of this report, Cleveland is already a seven to two odds-on favorite to win the 2017-18 NBA Finals, per Vegas Insider. That makes them second to only the brand new champions, the Golden State Warriors (five to nine).
Paul George put up averages of 23.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.6 steals a game this past season. In the playoffs, he averaged 28 points, 8.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists, and 1.8 steals. Just imagine what he might be capable of when added to a lineup featuring Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, both of whom don’t mind dishing to another hot scorer needed to win NBA titles.
For now, the Paul George NBA trade rumors remain just that, but based on the fact the Pacers are now shopping for deals, it wouldn’t be surprising to see something materialize before the coming NBA season.
[Featured Image by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]