NBA trades usually come out of nowhere and the trade rumors you hear through the media usually don’t end up happening.
That was the case Friday night when ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported that the Indiana Pacers traded Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The NBA world was stunned that A) the Thunder was the team that won the Paul George sweepstakes and B) Indiana didn’t get a great return in the deal.
The Pacers acquired guard Victor Oladipo and second year player Domantas Sabonis and that was it. After the deal was announced, ESPN reported that both Atlanta and Boston offered four first round picks each to Indiana at the trade deadline in February for George. ESPN also reported that Boston offered three first round picks and two players during the NBA Draft, one of which was Jae Crowder.
If those reports are accurate then I don’t feel sorry for the Indiana Pacers when they plummet to the bottom of the NBA for their failure to get draft picks to help speed up the rebuilding process. Their fans should be more upset at management for not getting the maximum value for George than being upset at George for not wanting to stay long term.
Cleveland Cavalier fans seemed to be upset that the team wasn’t able to acquire George. For weeks, the rumor was first discussed during the NBA Finals that Cleveland should look into trading Kevin Love for Paul George. The team did pursue a trade for him and it got as far as a potential three team deal with Denver that Adrian Wojnarowski reported talks were still ongoing when Indiana executed the deal with Oklahoma City.
In the end, Indiana didn’t want to trade George within the Eastern Conference and certainly didn’t to trade him to their division rival. Same could be said for the Chicago Bulls and Jimmy Butler. Chicago didn’t want to trade Butler to Cleveland and ultimately traded him to Minnesota.
I know people are pointing the finger at owner Dan Gilbert for letting former David Griffin go almost two weeks ago during trade negotiations for George and Butler but it wouldn’t have made a difference. Assistant general manager Koby Altman had deals lined up but I don’t think Indiana or Chicago would’ve pulled the trigger on moving their franchise players within the division.
Paul George and Jimmy Butler getting traded out of the Eastern Conference is a great thing for Cleveland. It made the road to the NBA Finals a lot easier and the Cavs remain the favorite in the Eastern Conference. They still have to watch the Boston Celtics who are bringing their team back and could be adding Jazz guard/forward Gordon Hayward in free agency.
No need to panic Cavs fans, at least not yet.