The 2014 NBA offseason was supposed to be the chance basketball fans needed to catch their collective breath, but the nonstop trade and free-agent rumors still swirling have the league waiting for the next shoe to fall.
With Indiana’s Paul George suffering a gruesome leg injury, Minnesota’s Kevin Love likely to be traded and Greg Monroe feeling the pressure of being a restricted free agent, there is still plenty of action to expect this summer.
Here are all the latest rumors from around the NBA.
Latest Updates on Paul George’s Leg
Playing for the U.S. national basketball team is one of the biggest thrills for many players, but there are also drawbacks. On Friday, Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George landed awkwardly during a scrimmage and suffered a tibia-fibula fracture, per Sam Amick of the USA Today.
George underwent surgery the same night he suffered the injury.
According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, “Sources close to the situation told ESPN that while there was no additional damage besides the fractures, doctors believe George likely will miss all of next season, though no official prognosis has been given.”
George himself reacted via Twitter to the injury and support he received:
Thanks everybody for the love and support.. I'll be ok and be back better than ever!!! Love y'all!! #YoungTrece— Paul George (@Paul_George24) August 2, 2014
This is a devastating blow to the franchise in many ways. George played in 80 games last season and averaged a team-high 21.7 points per game. The next highest scorer on the team was David West with 14 points per game.
Not only was George a threat offensively, but he also added 6.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Add in the stellar numbers he amassed during the team’s run in the postseason, and the long-term loss will be tough to overcome for the Pacers.
As seen with a similar injury to former Louisville guard Kevin Ware, George could miss 12 to 18 months as he recovers (it could be less due to his elite athleticism), according to the physician who cared for Ware, Dr. Patrick Kersey, via NBA.com.
The stage has been set for an eventual triumphant return.
Kevin Love to Cleveland A Foregone Conclusion?
The biggest rumor of the offseason after free agents LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony signed was the possible trade of Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love. With a contract that allows him to leave in 2015 via free agency, Minnesota’s only real option is to make a deal.
It appears the Cleveland Cavaliers are the favorite to complete the trade.
Per a report from Marc Stein and Windhorst of ESPN.com, the Timberwolves are only seriously talking to one team about Love, despite several different offers from around the NBA:
The Minnesota Timberwolves were engaged in serious Kevin Love trade talks with no teams other than the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, adding to the growing belief around the NBA that Love teaming up with LeBron James is inevitable, sources have told ESPN.com.
As has been the case for a week, the Cavaliers remain the front-runners to acquire Love in a trade co-headlined by No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins. However, sources this week have described the Cavs as the only team in contention for Love.
If the franchise believes Love will not re-sign with the team next season, trading him away now for the biggest return is Minnesota’s only option. While this could’ve turned out awful for the organization, the fact that 2014 No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins is likely involved makes this trade a blockbuster.
Both teams will be getting exactly what they wanted.
As great as Love has been over the last several years, he's never had the opportunity to play a postseason game while with the Timberwolves. With Kyrie Irving and James looking for a championship, Love will have to learn the intricacies of the playoffs on the fly if he lands in Cleveland.
The transition should be easy for a player who averaged 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists last season, and playing alongside James and Irving would also help alleviate more of the pressure on Love.
Greg Monroe Not on Same Page as Detroit?
All eyes may be on Love as a potential deal continues to be rumored, but there is another power forward on the market who deserves serious attention. Unfortunately for Detroit Pistons star Greg Monroe, he is not drawing the interest as a restricted free agent many expected.
Now, Monroe and Detroit must work on a new contract extension.
According to Steve Kyler of BasketballInsiders.com, the Pistons are interested in signing the 24-year-old to a long-term deal, but the player and his camp may be asking for more money than the team is willing to pay:
Much like Bledsoe, Detroit Pistons big man Greg Monroe finds himself without a market. Sources close to the process say there continues to be ongoing dialogue with the Pistons and that they do want to ink Monroe to a new deal.
The problem for the Pistons is that Monroe and his camp are not overly thrilled with the idea of signing a long-term deal at what they perceive to be less than market valuation.
Monroe may only be 24 years old, but he already has four years of experience. Playing with a mediocre team like Detroit has given Monroe the minutes needed to grow, and he translated that into an impressive average of 15.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in 2013.
As much as the Pistons want to remain fiscally responsible, Monroe is by far the best power forward on the team. With Jonas Jerebko and Tony Mitchell making up the depth at the position, it was obvious why Monroe averaged 32.8 minutes per game last season.
Detroit must lock up Monroe as long as possible and try to convince him to stay by building a winning team around him. As one of the centerpieces to a potential winning team, he could be a difference-maker in the postseason if his team ever made the playoffs.
*Stats via NBA.com.