Paul George has become one of the best players in the NBA over the past couple of years, even after a tragic broken leg that he suffered just a few years back. Despite becoming one of the best players in the league, the Indiana Pacers’ franchise player has seen his name in trade rumors each of the past two seasons.
At the trade deadline this season, George’s name surfaced in rumors more than it had before. It appeared that Larry Bird was serious considering dealing George. Indiana didn’t end up trading George at the deadline, but there is belief that they will consider moving him this offseason.
All of that being said, should the Pacers trade Paul George during the upcoming NBA offseason?
George averaged 23.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game this past season. He shot 46.1 percent from the field overall and knocked down 39.3 percent from behind the three-point arc. Those numbers have made George a very likely All-NBA team candidate.
During the playoffs this season ahead of Game 4 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, George took his game to a new level. He averaged 32.3 points per game to go along with 9.3 rebounds and 7.7 assists. George has shot 43.3 percent from the field overall and has connected on 45.5 percent of his three-point attempts, despite having opposing defenses focusing on locking him down.
Unfortunately for the Pacers, the series ended in a 4-0 sweep at the hands of the Cavaliers with George scoring just 15 points while chipping in seven rebounds and six assists.
Bird had several offers on the table at the trade deadline for George. The Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks, Denver Nuggets, and Los Angeles Lakers all reportedly had talks with the Pacers about George. Despite all of the interest from other teams, Bird has made it clear that he would rather sign George to a long-term extension than trade him.
If the Pacers were to trade George this offseason, there is no question that they would get a nice trade package back. Indiana would be able to rebuild their roster around Myles Turner and would have plenty of money to sign another big name in free agency.
Not trading George would be a risk for the Pacers as well, as he will become a free agent next offseason. There is no guarantee that the Pacers will be able to re-sign their franchise player when he hits the open market. Many believe that he will leave town for Los Angeles to play for the Lakers.
Even though not trading George would be a risk for Indiana, he has proven himself to be a true star. Being in a small market makes it very difficult for a team like the Pacers to find a superstar that wants to sign. George has made comments about wanting to stay in Indiana as long as the Pacers can offer him a chance to win a championship.
Looking ahead at the upcoming offseason, the Pacers should not trade George. Instead, they should do everything in their power to put another star alongside him. Perhaps hometown star Gordon Hayward would be interested in coming back to Indiana to form a dynamic duo with George, and if not, there are other players that will be available for the team to look at.
Bringing back Lance Stephenson was a huge step in the right direction. His friendship with George has been obvious in years past and has been even more obvious since his return to Indiana.
Expect to hear plenty of rumors surround George this coming offseason. Indiana will have quite a few aggressive trade offers on the table should they choose to deal him.
Indiana may have a great opportunity to trade George for a high price, but they must not deal him if they want to win a championship at some point in the near future.
Do you think the Indiana Pacers should consider trading Paul George this offseason? If not, who do you think they should target to bring in to play alongside him? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by Darron Cummings/AP Images]