Paul George could be dealt before Thursday night is over, and the Boston Celtics may be pushing to the front of the line.
At this point, with his declaration he’ll play one more season for the Indiana Pacers, it’s hard to find a team without some interest in trading for Paul George.
However, most teams are not equipped with the young talent or draft picks to grab the Pacers’ attention. With a lot of first round picks in the next few drafts, and depth on a roster that just reached the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics are not most teams.
Danny Ainge eventually has to turn the draft picks he’s accumulated into something more urgent in the short-term. With Jimmy Butler on his way to the Minnesota Timberwolves to reunite with coach Tom Thibodeau, the Celtics may be turning their attention fully toward George and the Pacers.
Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical suggests the Pacers and Celtics are still far away from a deal to send George to Boston, which can be expected with multiple assets having to go the other way. A negotiation point for Indiana may now include No. 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum, but the Celtics may be more willing to part with some combination of Jae Crowder, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley along with a draft pick or two.
George reportedly has his mind on opting out and signing with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018, which makes him a likely one-year rental for any other team that would trade for him now. So he’s a risky acquisition for the Celtics, especially if they have to deplete their existing talent base to get him. But to add a star and take a legitimate shot at dethroning the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East next season, it might be worth it.