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Paul George Trade Rumors: Pacers Nearly Sent Star to Cavaliers but Backed Out

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 18, 2017

Indiana Pacers' Paul George, right, drives against Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers won 135-130 in double overtime. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Paul George reportedly nearly became a Cleveland Cavalier.

In an appearance on The Jump on Tuesday, ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski said the Indiana Pacers were so close to trading the playmaker to the defending Eastern Conference champions that they were "about to give permission to Paul George to get on the phone with [Cavs owner] Dan Gilbert," via Ryne Nelson of Slam.

Wojnarowski, however, said Indiana "backed out of it and did the Oklahoma City deal," trading George to the Thunder in one of the blockbuster moves of this offseason.

The Pacers received Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis in exchange for George and also ensured he'd be out of the Eastern Conference.

Any moves—or near moves—the Cavaliers make this offseason will be framed around LeBron James' reported concern with the direction of the franchise, especially after Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today reported Monday the superstar is "frustrated" about Cleveland's ability to keep up with the Golden State Warriors.

Zillgitt noted what frustrated James was Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert's decision to not bring back general manager David Griffin and vice president of basketball operations Trent Redden and another near-miss deal that would've brought Jimmy Butler to Cleveland. What's more, Zillgitt reported the Cavs offered free agent Jamal Crawford the minimum salary instead of the taxpayer midlevel after James recruited him, and the three-time Sixth Man of the Year signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves instead.

The addition of George would have surely been a welcome one for James—who can become a free agent after the 2017-18 season—considering the 27-year-old is a four-time All-Star and three-time All-NBA player who could have helped close the gap with the defending champion Warriors.

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