Indiana Pacers forward Paul George has had his name surface in trade rumors after being eliminated from the postseason.
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Pacers Not Shopping George
Wednesday, June 1
Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders noted: "[I'm] not sure where the trading [George] thing came from but was laughed off the phone when I asked a Pacers source if it was a consideration. The Pacers are absolutely not looking at moving [George], unless the deal returned Kevin Durant."
Lakers, Celtics Eye Trade for George
Wednesday, May 4
Bill Simmons of The Ringer reported Wednesday the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics are both looking to parlay lottery selections into a star player or two this offseason. Simmons said the Lakers will attempt to build a major package around their No. 2 pick for George.
It's unlikely the Pacers would consider offers for the 26-year-old George. He's coming off a strong bounce-back campaign after missing most of the 2014-15 season and remains under contract with Indiana through 2018-19.
That said, it's no surprise the Lakers are shooting for the moon as they look to acquire a new face of the franchise following Kobe Bryant's retirement. Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey had this to say after his team eliminated the Pacers in Round 1, per Nick Friedell of ESPN.com:
Unbelievable. I tell you what, I remember trying to prepare for a young [Bryant]. And this young man reminds me of trying to prepare for a young [Bryant] back in the Laker days, like I was back in Seattle. ... I think he's back and I'm happy for him. Now that we're finished with him, I'm happy for him because he's a super young man. He represents everything basketball should be about. And he's back to his ... All-Star form.
Los Angeles' roster features several promising pieces in Jordan Clarkson, D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr., but there are no stars yet.
George could be that player. Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star passed along George's comments after the series loss to Toronto about becoming more comfortable in a leadership role:
I play this game the only way I know how to play; to play hard and leave everything on the floor. The last thing I want to say is, 'I didn't give it enough, played without the heart.'
Unfortunately, it wasn't enough in this series, but it's a lot to take away from it. It's the first year as being a prime leader, and I can only build off of that.
In 2015-16, George averaged 23.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists. Even after a serious leg injury, he's in the prime of his career.