Trade talks between the Indiana Pacers and the Boston Celtics for Paul George have now stalled.
Paul George was going to be a Celtic. Now, he isn’t, at least not yet anyway.
For most of the NBA Draft evening, the Pacers and Celtics were rumored to be moving briskly in finalizing a trade that would bring George to Beantown in exchange for Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and other goodies.
By the time NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was reading off the ninth pick, however, the talks stalled, which means that George is still in Indiana and the Pacers’ future in limbo.
Boston needs a star player to complement Isaiah Thomas, and George fits the bill. His athleticism and playmaking ability are just what the Celtics needed to take the next step in their evolution as an East power.
So why did the Celtics stop short in getting George? The answer lies in draft picks.
With a team that can compete with the best the East has to offer and a war chest of future draft picks, the Celtics may be thinking about preserving their rise to the top rather than taking the express route.
While the Celtics can afford to wait, the Pacers are in a much different situation. With George unlikely to re-sign next offseason, they need to ship him off and get some value in return while at least staying competitive.
They may have lost that chance with the implosion of the deal with the Celtics. Bradley had his best offensive season as a pro last season, and it would have been interesting to see what he could do as the main man in Indiana, and Crowder would have been a nice pickup too.
For now, though, that thought is gone, and Indiana is now back at square one on what to do with its lame duck star.