The departure of Paul George is inevitable after he informed the Indiana Pacers that he will leave in the 2018 NBA free agency to join the Los Angeles Lakers. According to the latest report, the Pacers started listening to offers from interested teams and could be planning to undergo a full-scale rebuild.
The Pacers were caught off guard with George’s recent announcement. Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard called it a “gut punch” after learning that George doesn’t want to be part of the team’s long-term plan. However, even before the trade deadline, George already gave a hint about his plan to leave Indiana.
Indiana Pacers not going to make a bad deal on Paul George trade
After being hired as the new president of basketball operations, Pritchard revealed that he had a conversation with Paul George about the future of the franchise. Pritchard claimed that George didn’t talk about leaving the team, making him believe that he’ll sign an extension this summer. Unfortunately, the Pacers star decided to become a free agent in 2018 and join his hometown team, Lakers.
“It’s not ideal but, we didn’t put ourselves in it,” Pritchard said. “[George] did. I know he likes Indiana. I think we have to look at our scenarios and it doesn’t mean we have to look today. We don’t want to have to be rushed. We want to be methodical in our decision-making. We’re going to look at everything. For Paul, it’s a situation as he looks at this, it’s not ideal, but it’s not ideal for us. We have to do what’s best for our organization.”
As of now, the only thing they can do is find an ideal partner for Paul George. Despite entering the final year of his contract, several NBA teams remain interested in adding him to their team. The Pacers could still acquire enough assets that can help them speed up the rebuilding process.
NBA Rumors: Teams interested in acquiring Paul George
According to Mike Wells of ESPN, six NBA teams have already expressed strong interest in trading for the Indiana Pacers star. These include the Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Wizards, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Los Angeles Clippers. The 2017 NBA draft passed with George still a member of the Pacers. However, the Pacers are expected to stay active in trade talks as the offseason goes deeper.