Let’s Trade Paul George Everywhere

All-NBA teams were announced, and as I, and everyone else, predicted Paul George is not a top fifteen player in the NBA. That’s probably false, but hey, it’s how the voting works. Some time soon, I’m going to be releasing a ranking of the top NBA players, in my and, possibly, CJ’s opinion, but I can assure you that Paul George is within that top fifteen.

A lot has been made about Indiana’s inability to pay Paul George and their incentive to trade him this summer for maximum return on that asset. The issue is that the top teams should probably value their assets more than what they can put around Paul George’s remaining one year and lukewarm guarantees of resigning. Regardless, let’s talk about the teams that should throw their hats in the ring for George, even if it’s renting him for a year. Disclaimer: it’s not only the Lakers and the Celtics.

Boston Celtics trade Amir Johnson, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and both their 2018 first round picks
Indiana Pacers
trade Paul George and Lavoy Allen

Boston probably won’t and shouldn’t offer anything past that. And even if they do, they probably shouldn’t make that trade. Does a lineup of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Paul George, Jae Crowder, and Al Horford really beat the Cavs in a playoff series next year? Even if the Celtics make this trade after signing Gordon Hayward into cap space, it’s unsustainable. They aren’t guaranteed to be better than the Cavs and then in the 2018 summer, it’ll be nearly impossible to retain Thomas, George and the depth. But, at that point, maybe they can roll with Fultz and Rozier at the guards and just dump Thomas and Bradley. Okay, I’ve actually talked myself into this trade. Fultz, Rozier, George, Hayward, and Horford is still a pretty great team.

Los Angeles Lakers trade Luol Deng, D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, LAL’s 2017 28th pick, swap rights for LAL’s 2018 first round pick, and LAL’s 2019 first round pick
Indiana Pacers trade Paul George and Monta Ellis

Personally, this is the trade that I think Indiana should pursue. The Lakers can still draft Lonzo Ball this year, pair him with Ingram and George, and have cap space for free agency in the future. Taking on the Monta Ellis contract is probably going to turn into an expiring next year, but it helps Indiana’s future should Ellis decide to opt-in. Indiana can start to rebuild around Russell, Randle, and Turner and the assets they draft over the next few years. It’s a pretty good core for Indy.

Portland Trailblazers trade C.J. McCollum, Evan Turner, Portland’s 2017 picks 15 and 20, and Portland’s own 2018 first round pick
Indiana Pacers trade Paul George, Al Jefferson, and C.J. Miles

This is one of those trades that Indiana should look into if either of the Celtics or the Lakers are unwilling to trade any of their assets. The Pacers get a lead guard in McCollum (whose salary makes him a steal) to pair with Turner. They shed Al Jefferson’s dead weight contract and gain three first round picks over the next two years. It’s a good haul of a player who’s leaving in the 2018 summer, even if they have to relieve Portland of the Turner contract.

Denver Nuggets trade Danilo Gallinari, Will Barton, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Malik Beasley and their 13th overall pick in the 2017 draft to the Indiana Pacers and Kenneth Faried, Jamal Murray, their 2018 first round pick, and choice of their 2018 second round picks to the Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns trade Eric Bledsoe to the Denver Nuggets
Indiana Pacers trade Paul George and Monta Ellis to the Denver Nuggets

Phoenix might say no to this trade, but what’s not to like with the backcourt rotation of Jamaal Murray, Devin Booker, and Tyler Ulis, aside from the fact that they won’t stop anyone? The Suns also get some picks to pick out some assets for their future. The prospects that Indiana gets back aren’t exactly glittering gold, but Paul George is walking, so a lottery pick and four players who can be put into their rotation isn’t horrible. Denver could vault themselves into the top half of the West with this trade and the subsequent signing of Paul Millsap and Justin Holiday into cap space. Imagine a starting lineup of Eric Bledsoe, Gary Harris, Paul George, Paul Millsap, and Nikola Jokic with a bench mob of Jameer Nelson, Justin Holiday, Wilson Chandler, and Juancho Hernangomez. I have a boner right now.

Miami Heat trade Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, Josh McRoberts, Wayne Ellington, and Miami’s 14th overall pick in the 2017 draft
Indiana Pacers trade Paul George

Again, if Indiana is assured the George leaves at the end of the year, and none of the more enticing offers are available, Miami would be a great trade partner. Winslow and Richardson are, at worst, great defensive wings, and, at best, a good 3-and-D in Richardson and Andre Iguodala in Winslow. Ellington and McRoberts are simply expiring contracts. The 14th pick can yield a solid rotation player for the future. The Heat would be ecstatic if the Pacers come calling. Sticking George onto Heat Island would attract another free agent, allowing the Heat to sign into cap space Millsap, Blake Griffin, or even Gordon Hayward.

Minnesota Timberwolves trade Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, Nikola Pekovic, and the 7th pick in the 2017 draft
Indiana Pacers trade Paul George

Butler to Minnesota rumors were all the rage last summer. Why not George to Minnesota? Indiana could get a top 7 pick, end up with Jonathan Isaac to pair with Turner and be set for years in the frontcourt, or maybe a perimeter athlete like Dennis Smith or Malik Monk to pair with LaVine and/or Dunn. Minnesota can stick George next to Wiggins on the wing, adding some much needed shooting. Throw some money at Patrick Patterson or JaMychal Green, and they have a team that makes more geometric sense.

Milwaukee Bucks trade Jabari Parker, John Henson, Rashad Vaughn, their 17th pick in the 2017 draft, and their 2018 first round pick
Indiana Pacers trade Paul George

This is probably the last trade before we get really silly. This might be closer to silly than serious. But seriously? Who says no to this? Indy gets a bonafide scorer in Jabari who actually pairs well with Myles Turner, a very young guard prospect in Vaughn who has shown flashes of improvement, and a defensive backup big in Henson. Those draft picks might be top end like the Lakers or Celtics picks, but it’s still something to put next to their now young frontcourt. Milwaukee gets to move forward with exactly the same lineup they started against Toronto in the playoffs, except they move Snell to the bench in favor of Paul George. That may be the same sort of jump in personnel that the Warriors enjoyed last summer.

Memphis Grizzlies trade Chandler Parsons, Brandan Wright, Troy Daniels, Wade Baldwin IV, Deyonta Davis, and all the picks that they can offer up in the next four years
Indiana Pacers trade Paul George, Monta Ellis, and Al Jefferson

I just wanted some way to give Memphis the wing they need. Conley, Gasol, and George could be a contending core. Who needs picks anyways? Memphis loves picking the G-League for depth. Indiana gets whatever scrape-heap picks the Grizzlies can offer, the prospects Baldwin and Davis, and a decent trade chip in Brandan Wright. And the two teams swap unusable salary.

Utah Jazz trade Derrick Favors, Rodney Hood, Dante Exum, the 24th and 30th picks in the 2017 draft, and Utah’s 2019 first round pick
Indiana Pacers trade Paul George

I might be generating too many trades, but this doesn’t really look that bad. Favors and Hood are above average at their positions and Exum still has enough room to grow into his athleticism and promise. Paul George plugged into Hood’s position on this Jazz team make them in solid contention with the Spurs.

San Antonio Spurs trade LaMarcus Aldridge, Dejounte Murray, their 2017 and 2019 first round picks
Indiana Pacers trade Paul George

Yeah, this won’t happen. But swap Aldridge for George, get rid of Gasol, Parker, and Manu’s salaries and sign George Hill and Paul Millsap into cap space by appealing to their championship aspirations. And there’s your versatile lineup: Hill, George, Kawhi, Millsap, and Dedmon to start. And against the Warrior’s small ball lineup, they throw out Hill, Green, Kawhi, George, and Millsap.

This trade has a non-zero probability of occurring.

Just kidding… maybe… I don’t know.