This sliver of the NBA offseason—after the draft and before the free-agency floodgates open on July 1—is usually quiet.
Not this year.
Thanks mostly to superstar Paul George, trade fever has swept across pro basketball. It’s not often that an All-Star essentially forces his current team to deal him, which is what PG-13 did in telling the Indiana Pacers brass he will not re-sign next summer and that he’s likely bound for the Los Angeles Lakers. The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the story.
Now, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics and Lakers have been reported as major players in various potential blockbusters. In turn, stars like Kevin Love have been thrown around as potential pieces.
We discuss the latest below.
ESPN.com’s Marc Stein gave rabid hoops consumers another rumor to feast on late Sunday. Stein reported that the Denver Nuggets have entered the fray for George, though the deal discussed wouldn’t land the four-time All-Star in the Mile High City:
ESPN.com’s Chris Haynes added that Kenneth Faried could’ve been bound for the Cavaliers:
That’d be a peculiar addition, given Tristan Thompson’s role on the team. Perhaps, despite his relationship with LeBron James, T.T. could’ve been part of the would-be megadeal. Stein or Haynes didn’t report any involvement from Thompson, though.
Per Fox Sports Ohio’s Sam Amico, it was the Pacers who turned it down:
Stein and Haynes added that the Cavaliers will be “leading contenders” for Carmelo Anthony if the New York Knicks star scorer is bought out. Melo is one of three players with a no-trade clause in his contract and has shown no willingness to waive it.
While it’s unclear what the Cavaliers will look like heading into next season, one thing has become clear: They’re looking to reload. Getting bludgeoned by the Golden State Warriors in five games seems to have made the Cavs eager to add more firepower before LBJ hits free agency next summer. The team had rumored interest in Jimmy Butler, too.
Playing with the King could do wonders toward keeping George in Cleveland, too. Even with his clear to desire to join the Lakers—a la Lonzo Ball—it would not be a reach for the Cavaliers to bring him in.
PG-13 can score from anywhere and, maybe more importantly, can defend from the wing. With George, Cleveland could conceivably counter the Dubs’ small-ball lineup with James at the 5 and PG at the 4.
The roadblock in a Cavs-Pacers deal has surprisingly been Love.
Per the Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s Terry Pluto, Indy isn’t interested in the sweet-shooting, glass-crashing big man: “I’m told the Indiana Pacers don’t want Kevin Love, at least not right now. Their goal is young players and draft picks. They definitely want to trade Paul George. It would be a shock if they open the season with him on the roster. Indiana knows George will leave via free agency in the summer of 2018.”
Pluto’s report bodes well for the Celtics and Lakers, not Cleveland. Here’s what the Cavaliers are missing in terms of draft stock the next few years, courtesy of RealGM:
- 2018 second-round draft pick to Philadelphia or Charlotte
- 2019 first-round draft pick to Atlanta
- 2019 second-round draft pick to New York, Orlando or Detroit
- 2020 second-round draft pick to L.A. Clippers
That cupboard is bare.
Boston and L.A., on the other hand, are able to offer future picks and youth, respectively. Perhaps Indiana will bend as the season approaches and take on Love, a vastly underrated player who could become a first option on a team without two otherworldly offensive studs.
For now, it’s a bit of stalemate between the Cavaliers and Pacers. Your move, Lakers.
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