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Paul George Rumors: Cavaliers, Pacers Talk 3-Team Trade, Kevin Love to Nuggets

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2017

CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 15:  Paul George #13 of the Indiana Pacers handles the ball against Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during a game in Round One of the Eastern Conference Playoffs during the 2017 NBA Playoffs on April 15, 2017 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE  (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jeff Haynes/Getty Images

The will-they-or-won't-they NBA storyline of the offseason surrounding the Indiana Pacers potentially trading Paul George took another turn Sunday.

Marc Stein of ESPN.com cited league sources who said the Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Denver Nuggets have discussed a three-way deal that would send George to the Cavaliers and Kevin Love to Denver.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com acknowledged the Cavaliers discussed sending Love to Denver and landing George but cautioned a source said there was "nothing serious" about the talks.

ESPN.com's Chris Haynes heard from league sources one version of the deal could also send Kenneth Faried to the Cavs. 

The George discussions accelerated when Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported the four-time All-Star told the Pacers front office he plans on leaving in the summer of 2018 and prefers to play for his hometown Los Angeles Lakers.

While many teams would see the threat of George bolting for Los Angeles as reason not to trade for him this summer, Cleveland is in a different position as it pursues the Golden State Warriors with a shrinking title window. LeBron James will turn 33 next season and has a player option in 2018, so teaming him with George could give the Cavaliers one more serious run at a title.

What's more, George could change his mind about playing for the Lakers after he gets a taste of winning in Cleveland and stay put.

The appeal of George from Cleveland's perspective is clear, especially when framed in the context of a possible fourth straight NBA Finals matchup against the Warriors. The three-time member of the NBA All-Defensive team could take some of the load off James on both ends of the floor after scoring a career-high 23.7 points per game in 2016-17.

James wouldn't always be tasked with carrying the offense and guarding someone like Kevin Durant because George could do either for extended stretches.

Elsewhere, Faried would give Cleveland someone who could help replace Love's rebounding considering he's averaged 8.5 boards a game in his career. He would also serve as a solid role player who could take advantage of openings created by the additional attention James, George and Kyrie Irving would draw.

This scenario would leave Love in Denver watching his old team chase a championship, but he could at least serve as a veteran leader and help a Nuggets squad featuring a handful of young players—including Nikola Jokic, Gary Harris and Emmanuel Mudiay—take the next step.

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