With the Indiana Pacers getting swept in the first round of the NBA playoffs and Larry Bird stepping down as team president, Paul George’s future with the franchise remains a hot topic of discussion around the league.
Although George is under contract for one more season before having the capability to opt out of his contract with the Pacers, the rumors are running rampant about the possibility of Indiana trading the star forward this summer. Head coach Nate McMillan, however, heads into the NBA offseason under the assumption that George will remain with the Pacers, via Nate Taylor of IndyStar.com:
“I had a good conversation with Paul,” McMillan said. “He wants the same thing that I want and the organization wants and that’s to win. My plans are that he will be back with us and we’ll be building to be successful next year.”
At this point, there’s no telling what will happen with this situation in Indiana. All signs appear to point to the perennial All-Star eventually ending up with the Los Angeles Lakers and the real question seems to be whether that will happen over the summer, before the NBA trade deadline in February or next summer in free agency.
If the Pacers brass knows for certain George intends to leave in July of next year, they must start to address the issue this summer. Once the NBA Draft Lottery results are in, the Pacers may begin to explore their options and potential trade packages with the Lakers.
Obviously, the Lakers will be in a much stronger position if the team can retain their top-three protected draft pick. It’ll give Los Angeles another desirable asset to work with leading up to the NBA Draft on June 22, but a deal could still be worked out regardless with all the young talent the Lakers have on the team currently.
McMillan’s hands, however, are tied. The Pacers coach will have to wait and see how this summer pans out and if he’s coaching a team filled with young players or another season with George as the centerpiece.