NBA trade rumors continue to swirl around the Boston Celtics, as the team continues their quest to add another star player to the fold. A new rumor has come to light that points toward a potential deal with the Indiana Pacers.
According to Yibada, the Celtics may be talking to the Pacers about a deal for NBA All-Star small forward Paul George. The report states that Boston could be offering a combination of rookie small forward Jaylen Brown, small forward Jae Crowder, power forward Amir Johnson, shooting guard James Young, and two future first-round draft picks. The rumored trade scenario also includes Pacers shooting guard Monta Ellis going to Boston along with Paul George.
Giving up four players and two first-round draft picks certainly appears to be a steep price for the Celtics on the surface, but further examination reveals that this would be an outstanding trade for Boston. The Celtics would be sending their top two small forwards to Indiana, so Paul George would take that spot and give Boston the star they’ve been craving to play alongside prized free agent acquisition Al Horford.
The task would then be to see how the Celtics could make up for the loss of the four players mentioned in this NBA trade rumor. Amir Johnson is the current starter for Boston at power forward, but the team could either go with Jonas Jerebko as his replacement or in a more likely scenario, slide Al Horford over to power forward and start Tyler Zeller or Kelly Olynyk at center. Monta Ellis would be an ideal point-producer off the bench for the Celtics, backing up Avery Bradley at the shooting guard position.
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Adding two first-round draft choices to the offer sweetens the pot for Indiana, but Boston would seem to be a much-improved team as the result of the proposed deal to bring in Paul George and Monta Ellis. Of course, general manager Danny Ainge’s ability to convince his former teammate (and current Pacers president of basketball operations) Larry Bird to agree to this deal is key. Teams will rarely give up a superstar player in a trade without getting one in return, so this would be a hard sell for Ainge and the Celtics.
Few players could replace Paul George in Indiana’s lineup, but the duo of Jae Crowder and Jaylen Brown would partially make up for losing George. Amir Johnson would probably end up playing backup minutes behind Thaddeus Young at power forward, and James Young might not make the Pacers’ 15-man roster coming out of training camp if this deal goes down. In addition, even though Indiana would get two draft choices in this trade, those picks are likely to be lower in the first round due to Boston’s strength as a team — particularly if they pull off this swap for Paul George.
The only way Larry Bird and the Pacers would even consider a deal such as this would be if the team completely flops this coming season. If that happens, Bird may choose to restructure the roster to build for the future, but even then, this package might not be attractive enough to pry George away from the Hoosier State. The other piece of bad news for the Boston Celtics is that barring a slew of injuries, the 2016-17 version of the Indiana Pacers are very unlikely to have a poor season. In fact, many pundits opine that Indiana may currently be the best team in the Eastern Conference, other than the defending NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
The latest NBA trade rumors are indicating that the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers may be discussing a major trade involving superstar Paul George. The rumored proposal would be a great deal for Boston, but Indiana wouldn’t bite on this offer, even if their 2016-17 season doesn’t go according to plan. This trade scenario does satisfy all NBA trade and salary cap rules (as verified by the ESPN NBA Trade Machine), but that is the only legitimate thing about this current slice of gossip from the NBA rumor mill.
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