NBA Trade Rumors: Paul George To Thunder, Enes Kanter To Pacers

NBA trade rumors continue to flow as teams look to make that one last deal before the offseason concludes. There is a new trade scenario making the rounds that involves a superstar going to a team that just lost a superstar of their own in free agency.

According to the Parent Herald, the Thunder and Pacers may be contemplating a deal that would send superstar forward Paul George to Oklahoma City. In return, Indiana would reportedly receive center Enes Kanter and shooting guard Andre Roberson. This trade works under NBA trade and salary cap rules, but does it work for both teams rumored to be involved in this trade discussion?

The Oklahoma City Thunder are trying to make the best of a bad situation this summer, as the team lost Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors in early July. It is certainly devastating for a team to lose a superstar player as a free agent, but the Thunder countered by making sure they were not going to lose another — they signed star point guard Russell Westbrook to a three-year, $85 million contract extension in early August, which gave the team increased stability as they attempt to keep their roster intact after the defection of Kevin Durant.

Now that Westbrook is locked up, Oklahoma City is looking to build around him and keep the team at a level where they can remain a contender in the Western Conference. The team very nearly defeated Golden State in the Western Conference Finals last season, but now the Thunder will have to take a step back unless they can find a way to bring in more help for Russell Westbrook.


Enes Kanter has played well for Oklahoma City as their backup center, but he has been involved in some recent controversy that the Thunder may want no part of. Kanter is from Turkey and practices the Muslim religion. Kanter has become a follower of a controversial Muslim cleric, which has caused his family to disown him, as detailed in a report published by Vice Sports. This alone would not be a reason to move Kanter, but it would be one less headache Oklahoma City would have to deal with as they try to keep their franchise afloat in the aftermath of Kevin Durant’s departure.

The Indiana Pacers are currently in a transition period. The team is coming off a solid campaign in which they took the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference (the Toronto Raptors) to seven games in the 2016 NBA Playoffs. The team’s primary star, Paul George, made a triumphant return from injury last season to reestablish himself as one of the elite players in the NBA. Despite their relative success, the Pacers have made numerous changes this off-season, which have included several new players as well as a new head coach (Nate McMillan).

Indiana’s president of basketball operations, Larry Bird, has a vision for his team — he wants to see them play at a fast tempo and be a prolific scoring team. Bringing in players such as Thaddeus Young and Jeff Teague should help Bird accomplish those goals for the Pacers, but whether Indiana’s new mix of talent and coaching comes together remains to be seen. Bird’s recent moves look good on paper, but the 2016-17 season will be akin to a chemistry experiment in Indiana. Despite the uncertainty of how this will play out, the potential is there for this to be a very good team if Larry Bird’s intuition is correct.

In terms of the NBA trade rumor itself, there is absolutely no validity to it. Larry Bird is 100 percent committed to Paul George as the cornerstone of the Pacers’ franchise, and even a significant trade offer would not be enough to tempt Bird to deal Paul George. Even if George was available, Indiana would not trade him for Kanter and Roberson — there is not enough value there for the Pacers to bite on the offer, and acquiring Kanter would make little sense considering how high the team is on second-year center Myles Turner.

The latest NBA trade rumors are hinting at a potential deal between Oklahoma City and Indiana, but if the Thunder are to make a move for a star player to replace Kevin Durant, they will most certainly have to look elsewhere.

[Photo by Doug McSchooler/AP Images]

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