With news that the Indiana Pacers contacted several teams over the course of the NBA Trade Deadline regarding Paul George, we’re left wondering how is he still in Indiana? It’s simple, Larry Bird had no real intentions of trading him, he just wanted to see what teams were offering for next season. one of the teams mentioned in said discussions was the Philadelphia 76ers.
It was reported that the 76ers offered a choice of Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel, Robert Covington and two 1st Round picks. Wow. That’s a huge haul even for George. While some Philly fans are mad the deal didn’t happen, it will work out in the 76ers favor down the line.
To begin with, George is an All-Star player, one of the best SFs in the NBA but taking him means taking on a huge contract that the team does not need. Can they afford it? Yes they can but why pay that money when you may have your own PG13 in Ben Simmons. We have yet to see Simmons full potential since he was hurt this year but by adding PG13 to the roster it may stunt the growth of Simmons and Joel Embiid.
George is a good player but look at the production the team has received from Covington and Okafor, plus 2 future picks and it doesn’t add up. As a 76ers fan, the noise from the gallery has been just wait until we get a superstar. Well, he’s already here and he’s cheap. George will cost the team close to $37M in the next two seasons. And, it’s no secret his desire to play for the Los Angels Lakers, another team that the Pacers were discussing a possible trade with.
Bryan Colangelo better back away from George and focus on the team he has in front of him. The 76ers are not that bad off. Who pictured this scrappy bunch winning 26 games and be right on the heels of a New York Knicks team that has star players? Why bring George into the fold when whatever you have now is working so well? Are the 76ers that hard up for a name player that they’re willing to mortgage the future of the franchise just for two seasons?
Those Draft picks could be what’s needed to turn a 26-win team into a 50-win team in a few years. And the best part is that the 76ers will have salary space to sign the necessary veteran players needed to groom the younger guys. Teams are so high-strung on brand names that they forget it takes a team to win in this league. LeBron James is a brand name but he didn’t win until he got with other big names.
The Pacers not taking that deal may have saved the 76ers team. Fans may not see it because they are tired of losing but what some fail to realize is they are actually ahead of schedule. Injuries have taken its toll on the team over the last three seasons and yet the team is still competitive as ever. What happens when they are able to floor the lineup that drafted and with these other guys gaining valuable experience, the 76ers will be the envy of most front offices.
Bird will come calling again after the season and right before the NBA Draft and try to get one of the team’s Lottery Picks. What Colangelo should do is look over his roster and who’s in the Green Room, smile and say “no thanks, Larry, but we’re good over here”.