Every NBA fan knows about the past between Paul George and the Indiana Pacers, especially last offseason and throughout the 2017-18 season. George forced the Pacers to trade him last offseason after making it known to the public that he would not re-sign with Indiana. He also made it clear to most teams that he would not consider re-signing with them because he wanted to play for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Despite the difficult situation that George put the Pacers in, they were able to make a deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder that brought back Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. Both players put together a solid first season in Indiana and the Pacers were the most pleasant surprise in the NBA, nearly knocking off LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
Now, George is set to hit free agency this offseason with quite a few options to choose from. George is widely expected to either sign with the Lakers or re-sign with the Thunder, but there are some other possibilities.
Bleacher Report recently looked at the best potential landing spots for George this offseason and actually listed the Pacers as one of their top destinations for the star small forward.
Chris Barnewall of CBS Sports also touched on the relationship between George and the Pacers. He thinks the two sides should simply get over it and strongly consider reuniting this offseason.
“George obviously is still a little bitter about how his breakup with the Pacers went down. Not everything in life can be clean and their situation definitely wasn’t. However, it appears to have worked out best for everybody involved. George made the playoffs, and now has the option of going wherever he wants to be. The Pacers made the playoffs, took the Cavaliers to seven games in the first round, and have a future star in Oladipo. There’s no need to be angry at each other! Even if they are 100 percent still angry with each other.”
George even recently talked about how he wanted to finish his career in Indiana and how things didn’t go the way he would have liked.
“Indiana definitely takes the credit for who I am as a player. I became a man there. I became a superstar there and I love the city, the fans and the front office. The dream when I got drafted there was to was to be a Pacer my whole career, but things didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to and I hoped would have.”
The main issue for George in Indiana was that the team did not include him on the discussions within the front office. He felt like he didn’t have a say in what the team wanted to do. While that may have been the case with Larry Bird, Kevin Pritchard has been very open about wanting to hear from the players and their opinion of which direction the team should go.
While George returning to Indiana would be an awesome story, it isn’t likely to happen. Indiana chose to decline Lance Stephenson’s player option earlier this week and George took that opportunity to rip the team once again for their decision-making.
Expect to see George end up signing with the Lakers or Thunder this offseason. He could consider another destination like the Philadelphia 76ers or Houston Rockets but don’t expect to see the Pacers anywhere near his list.
Even though George and Oladipo would fit perfectly together, it appears that George is still a bit too bitter to consider that option at this stage of his career.