Indiana Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard reportedly backed out of a three-team trade with the Denver Nuggets and Cleveland Cavaliers that would have sent Paul George to Cleveland and Kevin Love to the Denver Nuggets, according to a report Saturday by Ramona Shelburne, Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com.
On June 22, the night of the NBA draft, the Nuggets were reportedly willing to include Gary Harris and the No. 13 overall pick in the three-team trade. That deal fell through, but talks picked up again after the draft, per the report.
The three teams had tentatively agreed to the deal in a conference call June 30, with "George to the Cavs, Love to the Nuggets, Harris and other pieces to the Pacers." But Pritchard reneged, instead sending George to Oklahoma City for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
According to the report, "Pritchard might have had many reasons for changing his mind, including not wanting to trade George to a division rival. In the end, all that mattered was George was no longer an option for the Cavs."
He wasn't the only star Cleveland pursued this offseason but failed to land in a trade, however.
According to Shelburne, McMenamin and Windhorst, "The Cavs made an offer to the Bulls for [Jimmy] Butler, sources said, but Chicago never seriously engaged them, and there was no traction. Butler communicated with Cavs players—including [LeBron] James and [Kyrie] Irving, according to sources—but the sides were never close."
Instead, Cleveland re-signed Kyle Korver and signed veterans Jose Calderon and Jeff Green. Those moves would have been uninspiring without organizational drama. But since James' future with the team beyond the 2017-18 season is uncertain and with Irving's request to be traded, the Cavaliers are now not only well behind the Golden State Warriors but also at a crossroads.
George will play next to Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City next season, and Butler joined the talented Minnesota Timberwolves. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, face the possibility of fielding a starting five that looks dramatically different than it has in the last few years.