With only one year remaining on wantaway Paul George’s contract, the Indiana Pacers have put their four-time All-Star on the trading block to get the best value on the current deal, according to league sources.
The move came after noted league insider Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical reported that George told Indiana he will not resign with the club after his contract expires next summer.
George, who averaged 23.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game in 75 outings this season, has not confirmed the reports and said he is committed to play with the Pacers.
“I am a Pacer,” said the 27-year-old George. “I am under contract, and I intend to play [with Indiana],” he added.
The Vertical also reported that George intends to sign with his hometown team of Los Angeles Lakers when he hits free agency next year.
With that knowledge, the Pacers have reached out to the Lakers for a sign-and-trade deal that will see Georg sign an extension with Indiana then get traded to the Staples Center team in exchange for at least one of Lakers’ young players.
But the Lakers are still in rebuild mode and are not willing to part ways with any of their potential stars, including 2015 second overall pick D’Angelo Russell, 2016 second overall pick Brandon Ingram, 2015 All-Rookie first teamer Jordan Clarkson, and improving lefty bigman Julius Randle.
ESPN first reported that Indiana have reached out to Cleveland, where LeBron James is pressuring the Cavaliers’ front office to make moves to compete with 2017 NBA champions Golden State Warriors.
The issue for the Cavaliers is that they already have the seventh most expensive payroll in the NBA, with $127 million committed this 2017, which is $26 million over the cap that the league enforces.
If the Cavaliers want to sign George, they might have to let go of one of their Big 3. But with James untouchable, it will only be between Kyrie Irving, who the Cavaliers drafted in 2011, and Kevin Love, who the Cavs traded for before the 2015 season.