With the pro basketball season just around the corner, NBA trade rumors continue to pop up. One of the more interesting recent speculations involves a swap of two NBA All-Stars from their respective squads. The Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers would be involved in a deal with multiple players being exchanged. At the core of the trade would be two of Team USA’s stars from this past summer in Rio de Janeiro, Jimmy Butler and Paul George. Would such a trade have any merit with the way these two teams are currently headed, though?
According to Sportsrageous, this Bulls and Pacers deal would involve Chicago sending Butler along with Doug McDermott, Denzel Valentine, and a future draft pick to Indiana. The Pacers would send their All-Star and top scorer, George, over to a Chicago squad that just picked up Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade in the offseason. It would continue Chicago’s “Big Three” status and keep them in contention with other top squads in the Eastern Conference. They could have a starting lineup of Rondo, Wade, George, Taj Gibson, and Robin Lopez on the court. The Pacers would have Jeff Teague, Butler, Monta Ellis, Myles Turner, and Thaddeus Young.
However, one would have to think Indiana has been more than pleased with Paul George in their lineup. The Pacers added Teague, Ellis, and Jefferson in the offseason to go along with their All-Star small forward. George came back last season after missing the previous campaign due to a season-ending injury. The 26-year-old averaged 23.1 points, 4.1 assists, and seven rebounds a game during the 2015-16 run with his team. Indiana also advanced to the postseason, but ultimately fell in the first round to Toronto.
As for the Chicago Bulls, they lost longtime stars Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah but gained the two new stars. Rondo has seemed to bounce from team to team lately, as he tries to find the perfect roster fit. Dwyane Wade is joining his second NBA team ever, after a long career with the Miami Heat. Both have won championships, and when added to a lineup that includes Butler, it makes them look like viable contenders for an Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Butler emerged as the new star in Chicago once former NBA MVP Derrick Rose was set back by multiple injuries. His scoring abilities are certainly among the best in the league. With five years of experience now, he’s averaging 20.9 points, nearly five assists, and over five rebounds per contest for the Bulls. Adding that to the Pacers would make them a top pick to contend with the likes of Cleveland and Toronto in the East.
These two teams met a few nights ago in preseason action. According to Indy Star, both players finished with single digits in points. The Pacers had six players in double digits, though, and seem to have a scoring rhythm going. It’s still just the preseason, so it’s to be expected that the top stars for teams won’t be lighting things up on the court. However, these are the two top players for their respective teams, and it’d be a major surprise if they were to swap places all of a sudden in the upcoming season.
Perhaps part of what is driving this latest speculation is the fact that Butler was photographed wearing an Indiana Pacers hat this past summer. According to Windy City, the image showed up on social media during Team USA’s plane ride to Los Angeles. It immediately fueled rumors that the two players were bonding and that Butler might be on the way to Indiana. However, there’s always the possibility he lost a friendly wager in which the loser had to wear the opposing team’s hat.
So while this trade may work out in ESPN’s NBA trade machine, it simply doesn’t make sense for the two sides to make this huge deal at this point. The biggest consideration with these NBA trade rumors is the fact that both teams will have players adjusting to the new personnel. With new talent added to both rosters, there’s that process of learning to work with one another on the court. As the season goes forth, both Chicago and Indiana will start to figure out what works or doesn’t work. If things clearly aren’t working, then available trade options will certainly be looked at.
[Featured Image by Andy Lyons/Getty Images]