The bidding war for Paul George’s services is officially on. And though he’s indicated that he’ll likely leave to join the Lakers after a season, even one year of George is worth a gamble for a number of teams. Jonathan Tjarks has already detailed the deal the Cavaliers should make for him, but there are plenty of other teams that could be in the mix as well. Not every trade here will fit under the salary cap, but there are always ways to make the money work. These are our best offers for Paul George:
Indiana gets: Eric Gordon, Patrick Beverley, Clint Capela
Houston gets: Paul George
Danny Chau: Two superstars with much-maligned postseason performances get an opportunity to rehabilitate their images in Houston. Indiana runs back its search for a storybook Hometown Hero ending, gets a point guard who elicits any kind of emotion from basketball fans, and adds an interesting Swiss foil to Myles Turner in the frontcourt. Hey, things could be worse.
Indiana gets: Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, 2018 Lakers first OR 2019 Kings first
Boston gets: George
Bill Simmons: That’s all we are offering, and you will like it, Indy.
Indiana gets: Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine, the no. 7 pick
Minnesota gets: George
Megan Schuster: I can’t take credit for thinking this one up (thanks Sean Fennessey), but I will take credit for the three hours I spent trying to telepathically message this offer to Tom Thibodeau. I have little faith the Wolves could get George to stick around after his contract is up (he seems to be pretty set on going to the Lakers, and Minnesota is decidedly not Los Angeles), but if any teammate could change his mind, I’d like to think it could be Karl-Anthony Towns.
Indiana gets: Derrick Favors, Dante Exum, Rodney Hood
Utah gets: George
Jonathan Tjarks: Utah needs to make a bold move to ensure Gordon Hayward re-signs. Turner’s ability to space the floor would be a good fit with Favors, while Exum and Hood would bring some long-term upside to the perimeter in Indiana.
Indiana gets: Klay Thompson, Kevon Looney
Golden State gets: George
Paolo Uggetti: I’m sorry about this. I really am. I didn’t want to do this. I didn’t mean to do this. I’m not proud of it. But you have to admit, there is a chance that Joe Lacob and Bob Myers are somewhere thinking to themselves, "How much more can we screw with the rest of the league?"
Someone check Draymond’s texts ASAP.
Indiana gets: Jonas Valanciunas, Norman Powell, a 2018 first-round pick
Toronto gets: George
Haley O’Shaughnessy: Paul George to Toronto will not happen, even though Reddit user doritopope has promised a Raptors tattoo on his behind if the team can’t land him (alas, in free agency). The Pacers want too much; Toronto wants to keep Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Serge Ibaka together — but George is the one-year, all-in answer to this team ever escaping the conference. Give Valanciunas, Powell, and a first-rounder: It’s way less than Indiana wants; but after Sunday’s news, it might be enough for them to bite.
Indiana gets: Eric Bledsoe, Marquese Chriss
Phoenix gets: LaMarcus Aldridge
San Antonio gets: Kevin Love
Cleveland gets: George
Simmons: FREE KEVIN LOVE!!!!!
Indiana gets: Jahlil Okafor, T.J. McConnell, Dario Saric, Gerald Henderson, top-eight protected 2019 Philadelphia first
Philadelphia gets: George
Michael Baumann: [Rips Bryan Colangelo mask off Sam Hinkie.]