As the NBA trade deadline continues to draw closer, rumors are flying with some big names attached. One of those big names is Indiana Pacers’ superstar Paul George. Larry Bird doesn’t seem inclined to trade his franchise player, but Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics aren’t giving up on their dreams of trading for him.
George has heard his name tossed around in trade rumors all season long. He also reportedly has a max contract on the table from the Pacers whenever he wants it. Indiana still has George locked through the 2018-19 season, which doesn’t make his future the top priority for the Pacers.
Boston has been looking to acquire a superstar to pair with Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford all season long. They have been attached to names like Jimmy Butler and DeMarcus Cousins, but George might be the best option for them. Even though they have had interest all year long and been rejected, yet another new report has surfaced that they haven’t given up on their pursuit.
According to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Celtics are still eyeing a trade for George.
“Boston’s shown minimal interest in Anthony, preferring to continue its pursuit of persuading Chicago (Jimmy Butler) and Indiana (Paul George) to engage in trade talks that involve two younger, more well-rounded stars.”
Throughout the course of the 2016-17 season thus far, George has had an up-and-down season with the Pacers. He has averaged 22.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game heading into Indiana’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. George has shot 45.1 percent from the floor overall and knocked down 37.8 percent of his three-point attempts.
Boston currently sits at 33-18 on the season, which is good enough for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Indiana, on the other hand, has a 29-22 record and are sixth in the playoff standings.
Looking ahead at the next few weeks, it is hard to see a situation that would make Indiana trade George. They are on a seven-game winning streak ahead of the Cavaliers’ game and are coming together as a team. Indiana has a bright future ahead of them with George, Jeff Teague, and Myles Turner leading the way.
Butler would be an intriguing trade target for the Celtics as well if George isn’t available. Chicago might be more willing to trade their star forward than the Pacers.
So far this season with the Bulls, Butler has averaged 24.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per contest. He has shot 45.7 percent from the floor overall and connected on 34.8 percent of his three-point attempts. Butler’s numbers look a bit better than George’s stats at this point in the season, which explains the Celtics’ interest in both players.
As the article states, Carmelo Anthony could be a last resort option for the Celtics. The New York Knicks may not be willing to trade him to a division rival, but Anthony would add the scoring that Boston desperately needs. He is last on the trade radar mainly due to concerns about his age.
All of that being said, the Celtics are very active in trade talks and that won’t change as the deadline draws closer in the coming weeks. Paul George appears to be one of their top trade targets heading to the deadline. Don’t expect the Pacers to make a deal involving their superstar, but Boston cannot be blamed for continuing to pursue the young superstar.
Do you think the Indiana Pacers should consider trading Paul George? What trade package do you think the Boston Celtics would have to give up to acquire George? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by Jim Mone/AP Images]