The Indiana Pacers are Struggling, But Trading Paul George Would be Insanely Dumb

By Jason McIntyre

The Indiana Pacers have been one of the NBA’s biggest disappointments through the first 30 games of the season, languishing at 15-15 and 7th in the East.

After a summer in which they added Al Jefferson, Thaddeus Young and Jeff Teague, the Pacers were a sexy pick to finish 2nd in the East.

But Jefferson’s been a disappointment, playing just 15 minutes a night. Teague is playing like a guy pressing for a contract (42/28, his worst numbers since his rookie year) and defensively, Indiana has been a disaster: 106.2 ppg allowed, which is 12th in the East.

Naturally, this has gotten the trade rumor mill started … but for some reason, those rumors involve Paul George, the team’s best player. It’s mostly just message board denizens and #NBAtwitter, but let’s have Adrian Wojnarowski nip it in the bud on his podcast recently:

"“I know teams have been calling Indiana and they’re gonna ask about Paul George and the answer is absolutely, positively no (to a trade). ‘He’s not available, there’s no conversation to be had, don’t even make offers to us. We’re not moving Paul George.'”"

It’s pretty clear the Pacers future will be built around 26-year old George and the 20-year old Myles Turner. Yes, there’s a potential snag with George leaving as a free agent in the summer of 2018, but given Larry Bird’s history of building a contender in Indianapolis – Eastern Conference finals in 2004, 2013, 2014 – I’d guess he’s more likely to add pieces than tear the whole thing down.

Does it make sense to try and get future 1st round picks from Boston for Paul George? Surely someone out there will think yes, you could punt on the next few years, and then things open up when LeBron is 34/35 and out of his prime, and you’ve got a core of Myles Turner and a couple other rising stars.

Bird just turned 60 and retired a few years ago, only to return. He probably wants to rebuild as badly as Doc Rivers does in LA.