Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Paul George is expected to be one of the most coveted free agents in the upcoming offseason. Though there are still two months before 2018 free agency begins, multiple signs are pointing out that George will leave the Thunder and continue his NBA career with another team. If George seeks a max contract, there are only seven teams who are capable of going under the salary cap to sign a major free agent, according to Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman.
These include the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Indiana Pacers. The first four teams mentioned are lottery teams who are still in the first phase of the rebuilding process, making them unlikely free agency destinations for Paul George. Meanwhile, the Lakers and the Sixers are mostly consisting of young and promising talents that have proven their capability to become superstars in the league. If one of them succeed to sign George, both teams could still pursue another superstar in the free agency market.
However, for Tramel, the Pacers would be a “fascinating option” for George. Last June, the Pacers were forced to trade the 28-year-old forward to the Thunder after the superstar told them that he’ll leave when he becomes a free agent in 2018. The departure of George was expected to mark the start of Pacers’ rebuild, but with the help Oladipo and Myles Turner, they managed to enter the Eastern Conference Playoffs and gave LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers a tough fight in the first round.
No one can deny the fact that the Oladipo-led Pacers did a better performance than the Thunder’s “Big Three” of Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, and Russell Westbrook in the playoffs. If George was added to the Pacers’ current roster, they could have a chance of dethroning the Cavaliers as Eastern Conference Champions. George may have decided to leave the Pacers last summer, but their surprising performance in the recent playoffs may convince him to consider returning in Indiana. The Pacers could give him a decent deal since they are projected to $32 million in salary cap space this summer.