The Los Angeles Lakers — or any team for that matter — may not have to battle over negotiations for a Paul George trade with the Indiana Pacers anymore with the news that dropped Friday. The possibility of George being traded this summer moves one step closer after Larry Bird stepped down as president of basketball operations of the Pacers.
George’s unhappiness with the Pacers showed up during the press conferences after four consecutive losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs. He wanted the last shot in Game 1, but instead C.J. Miles took it. George and the Pacers blew a gigantic lead in Game 3, which saw Myles Turner miss almost every open three-pointer he took.
No one is blaming George for his displeasure with the team and desire to go elsewhere. However, Bird was not about to trade George for just anything. He wanted something good for the superstar even after dangling George on the trade block and nearly reeling in the Boston Celtics.
George is going to draw max-contact offers when he hits the market in 2018. The logical thing to do now is to trade George and get a draft pick or two. Bird did not seem to understand that and mortgaged the Pacers’ future for an eighth seed instead of trying to play terrible basketball and getting a better draft pick. Indian has hurt itself in that regard.
Now, Indiana’s phone should be ringing off the hook. Kevin Pritchard should be working with George and his agent to narrow down teams he would want to go to. George gave it his all for the organization and now he can help them even more by cultivating draft picks while both parties move on.