Below is the last part to my Paul George saga, the best option available.
Option D: Capitalize on George’s Value, Trade him now
Maybe the option Pacer fans want to consider least, but it could be the most feasible. As it stands right now, George has roughly 2 years and 39 million dollars left on his contract. At age 26, and arguably one of the top 5 two way small forwards in the game, this is a bargain. I mean, the Lakers paid Luol Deng 18 million this year to sit on the bench and NOT play. A trade to the right situation would allow George to take time to decide his future in terms of extensions. The longer you wait to trade Paul George, the greater the odds he wants to test free agency and the less return you will get from a team who is missing that last piece.
- Note #1: A potential hang up here could be the teams above using leverage to drive the trade value down. If the Bulls make Jimmy Butler available, a team like Boston could give the same offers and not budge, hoping either team would concede and giving them a player at a more reasonable price.
This option would take a little bit of luck and the willingness to open the purse strings by Herb Simon (the Pacers owner). Let’s just pose a hypothetical here and say the Pacers, working with our 20 million in cap space are able to trade Paul George to Boston for a package including:
|Pacers Get:||Celtics Get:|
|Jae Crowder (6.7 mil salary 2017-2018)||Paul George (18 mil salary 2017-2018)|
|Marcus Smart (4.5 mil salary 2017-2018)||2018 Indianapolis 2nd round pick|
|Tyler Zeller (8 mil salary 2017-2018*)|
|Nets 2017 First Round Pick (projected #1)|
|Oklahoma City 2018 2nd round pick|
“But wait!” The average Pacers fan exclaims. “Sure they get the possible number 1 pick, but that talent return isn’t great. Hell, they don’t even free up that much salary!” On the surface, you’re absolutely right. Given the rumors that the Pacers requested 3 out of the players Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley, and Jaylen Brown with the 1st overall pick, this haul may look like it leaves something to be desired. However, Zeller has a team option for the next season, meaning if the Pacers release him, they end up with an extra 8 million in cap space. Boston also gets what it is searching for in a primary scoring forward who also plays defense, not to mention they keep the valuable Avery Bradley and the young, potential laden Jaylen Brown. And, if sound bites are to be believed, Paul George gets to play for a winner that he could resign with, even if it is on a 2 year deal with a player option. If he loves Boston and being in the playoffs, now they can discuss a long term deal.
The options at that point become ripe for imagination at that point.
The Pacers can:
- Offer a max deal to Teague, draft the best shooter in the draft at 1 to play shooting guard and slot Crowder into the 3 spot.
- Let Teague walk, max offer Gordon Hayward and draft Fultz or Lonzo Ball first overall
- Or, if the Pacers don’t mind a dip into the luxury tax, offer both Teague AND Hayward to head a true Indiana Pacers team with Indiana players while also taking a shooter to slide into the 2 guard spot. The luxury tax would be offset by the fact that fans would probably flood the gates to see an adult Indiana all-star team play 41 games in front of the home crowd.
Does this solve their forward pairing with Myles Turner dilemma? Not quite. But, it does give them a very formidable lineup.
PG: Jeff Teague
SF: Gordon Hayward
PF: Thaddeus Young
C: Myles Turner
Bench: Smart, Crowder, Lance Stephenson, Glenn Robinson III, Al Jefferson
Yes, you lose Paul George… but tell me how the team above is actually worse than the current Pacers? On the surface it actually seems like an improvement. No team ever wants to see their homegrown star depart before his time (or, lets be honest, ever). But, even the most ardent Paul George supporter would have to agree that this trade makes sense from all sides.
Thoughts? Agree or Disagree? Want to express how dumb I am? Make sure you share and retweet so your friends can pile on.
salary figures via http://www.spotrac.com
Post 1: The Pacers Have a Paul George Problem
Post 2: Can the Pacers Keep Paul George at Home?