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Paul George Trade Rumors: Pacers Reject Cavs, Nuggets Pitch Involving Kevin Love

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 23: Paul George #13 of the Indiana Pacers handles the ball against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on April 23, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Cavaliers defeated the Pacers 106-102 to sweep the series 4-0. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Indiana Pacers have rebuffed a proposed three-way deal that would have sent Paul George to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kevin Love to the Denver Nuggets.

Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio reported the news. Marc Stein and Chris Haynes of ESPN had reported the potential blockbuster but did not have exact details on the players being sent to Indiana.

George, 27, is the biggest trade chip on the market after the Chicago Bulls sent Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves on draft night.

The four-time All-Star informed the Pacers earlier this month he will not consider returning to the franchise when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer.

"It couldn't have come at a worse time," president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard told reporters Thursday. "If we would have known this a few months ago, I think we could have been more prepared. Becoming public was a big issue. We want our players to want to be here; that's important. It really is. When Paul said he didn't, that's a gut punch."

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com reported the three-way swap discussed Thursday was "nothing serious" and "very unlikely" to come to fruition.

The Cavaliers may be exploring ways to make their core more formidable, but they're likely stuck with the LeBron James-Kyrie Irving-Kevin Love trio. Love is still a high-level player who makes everything they do easier offensively. They're not going to get equal value if they trade him for multiple players, and it would not make sense for the Pacers to agree to a George-Love-centric swap.

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The Nuggets have some roster clutter they need to reconfigure, but they have time. They stumbled on a budding star in Nikola Jokic, love Jamal Murray's development as a long-term piece and also have a developing stretch big in Juan Hernangomez. Adding a power forward to pair next to Jokic should be an offseason priority, just not one that includes giving up one of their cornerstone young pieces.

The most obvious George destination remains Boston, and the Pacers will likely wait deep into July after failing to get things done on draft night. The Celtics have a perfect combination of picks and talent, and they could go all-in on winning now if they can sign Gordon Hayward in free agency.

Any Cleveland path feels too convoluted.

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