It's opening night for the 2016-17 season, but NBA trade rumors aren't taking a backseat as the league begins regular season play. The Christian Times has published a piece indicating that the Boston Celtics are making a push for superstar small forward Paul George of the Indiana Pacers.
According to Sportsrageous, there are ongoing trade discussions that not only involve George heading to Boston, but also Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins landing in Indiana as part of a multi-team transaction.
Finally, iTech Post reports that the Celtics are willing to offer a package that includes point guard Marcus Smart, small forward Jaylen Brown, and power forward Amir Johnson in order to acquire a star player to go along with their prized free agent signee, forward/center Al Horford.
Current NBA trade rumors are swirling online that the Celtics, Pacers, and Kings are kicking the tires on a potential blockbuster trade that would involve seven players and three first-round draft picks.Boston would receive small forward Paul George, shooting guard Ben McLemore, and a first-round pick from the Pacers. Indiana would procure center DeMarcus Cousins, small forward Jae Crowder and Brooklyn's first-round draft choice in 2017 (via Boston). Sacramento would round out this massive deal by bringing in point guard Marcus Smart, small forward Jaylen Brown, power forward Amir Johnson, and Brooklyn's first-round pick in 2018 (via Boston).
One might look at this monster three-team, seven-player, three draft pick trade proposal and question its plausibility. However, this would indeed be a legal trade under NBA trade and salary cap constraints, per the ESPN NBA Trade Machine. Technically speaking, this deal could take place, but how realistic is a colossal swap such as this?
Based on NBA history, trades of this magnitude have rarely been made. Even when blockbuster trades do happen, it is typically a scenario where one superstar is dealt for a group of players and/or draft picks, such as when the 76ers sent Wilt Chamberlain to the Lakers for three players in 1968, or when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar netted the Bucks four players in a 1975 trade with the Lakers.
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History aside, let's begin by looking at the Boston Celtics' end of this rumored trade proposal. The team would not only get a young superstar in Paul George, but former lottery pick Ben McLemore and a future first-round pick from Indiana. That is a huge haul, but according to this NBA trade rumor, it would cost the Celtics plenty as well. Two starters, two regular rotation players, and two first-round draft choices would be the price. George would take Crowder's spot in the lineup, so that's a major plus for Boston. However, small forward depth would be very thin, with only James Young on the roster to backup Paul George.
Power forward would be weakened by this trade, as Jonas Jerebko and Jordan Mickey would be the holdovers if Amir Johnson is dealt. The loss of Marcus Smart would hurt the Celtics' bench, as rookie lead guard Demetrius Jackson would have to be the primary backup to Isaiah Thomas. Boston's future would be impacted by this deal as well since they would be including both of Brooklyn's first-round picks that they currently own the rights to.
Is Paul George a good enough player to warrant an offer like this? That's a tough call, but considering everything, including the fact that the Boston Celtics are looking to make a championship run right now, it seems very possible that general manager Danny Ainge would okay this hypothetical trade proposal.
If Larry Bird and the Indiana Pacers agreed to this trade, Jae Crowder would probably start at small forward for the Pacers, but that's not a given (he would primarily be competing with C.J. Miles for that position). DeMarcus Cousins is one of the most talented and productive players in the NBA, and obtaining Cousins and Crowder for Paul George and a first-round pick is an intriguing possibility. However, the Pacers are very committed to Paul George as the face of their franchise, and given the baggage that DeMarcus Cousins brings with him, it is difficult to envision Larry Bird making this trade.Another facet to consider for Indiana is their current rotation at center. The team is very high on second-year man Myles Turner, and they signed veteran Al Jefferson this off-season not only to back up Turner but to mentor him. Adding Cousins to that mix would be an odd fit, particularly given the cost. Bird's former Celtics teammate Danny Ainge might be willing to say "yes" to this plan, but it appears it would be a "no" from Larry Bird.
The Sacramento Kings have enough big men on their roster to make up for the potential deletion of DeMarcus Cousins, although there is no way to fully replace what he does on the basketball floor. All of the players rumored to be coming in via this deal would help the Kings to a degree, but mostly just in terms of depth -- none of these guys would be big impact players for Sacramento in the near future, if ever. There simply doesn't seem to be enough value here for the Kings to choose to make this trade if they are considering moving their superstar center.
The freshest NBA trade rumors circulating the internet include a potential blockbuster deal involving the Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, and Sacramento Kings. This would be an expensive trade for the Celtics, but there is a solid chance they would bite on the offer to acquire a talent like Paul George. The Pacers would ultimately pass on this proposal, even though DeMarcus Cousins is a dominant performer. The Kings need to shake things up after their terrible 2015-16 campaign, but this doesn't seem to be an offer that would tempt them to ship out their best player. This is certainly a fascinating NBA trade rumor, but one that has virtually no chance of happening in reality.
[Featured Image by Rich Pedroncelli/AP Images]