Will Larry Bird stepping down as president of the Indiana Pacers, maybe it is time for Paul George to go as well? Here are five teams that should court him.
After what was a strange NBA season in Indianapolis, Larry Bird has decided to step down. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo! Sports first reported the news of Bird’s departure. This may not be the last big news that Wojnarowski breaks on the Pacers this offseason.
Indiana’s star player Paul George could want out of Indianapolis, as he is entering the final year of his contract with the Pacers in 2017-18. Depending on how the All-NBA teams shake out, George could stand to make, or lose, a ton of money in his upcoming deal.
George has remained steadfast that he wants to play for a winner. However, Indiana has lost in the first round of the last two Eastern Conference Playoffs, including a 4-0 sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers this season. It has been three years since Indiana last played in an Eastern Conference Finals. With the way Indiana has dissolved into some degree of dysfunction, here are five NBA teams that Indiana could look to trade George during 2017 NBA free agency.
Indiana should be able to get at worst an emerging star as the centerpiece in exchange for a deal involving George. One team that could have a ton of interest in George could be the Minnesota Timberwolves.
They haven’t made the Western Conference Playoffs since 2004. It was a trying year in Minneapolis under new head coach Tom Thibodeau’s watch. He’s not going to tolerate another lackluster season in the Twin Cities from his forever on-the-rise basketball club. Minnesota is fortunate to have many interesting pieces to swap in a trade for George.
The Timberwolves are not going to trade center Karl-Anthony Towns. Everybody else is on the table, including small forward Andrew Wiggins. Should Indiana and Minnesota strike a deal, expect Wiggins to go to Indiana as the primary return for George.
Wiggins is a highly skilled offensive player, but he’s not the two-way player of George. He is significantly younger than George, so that could be massively appealing for Indiana. Wiggins could tear up the Eastern Conference playing out on the wing in Indiana.
Minnesota would have to throw a future first-round pick Indiana’s way, perhaps another high-end role player like a Zach LaVine or a Ricky Rubio. It would be worth it for the Timberwolves, as a team with George and Towns could be good enough to reach the NBA Playoffs in 2018. Thibodeau would certainly get behind that notion, especially on the defensive end.