Sources: Cavaliers and Pacers have talked Paul George deal

As first reported on The Vertical. Paul George has informed the Indiana Pacers recently that he will become a free agent in the summer of 2018 and leave the team. George has not formally requested a trade and just last week while playing in a charity softball game advised he intends on playing for the Pacers next season.

As the Pacers are now aware of George’s intentions the trade speculations have gained more traction in the past 24-hours. Sources are reporting that the Pacers have reached out to the Cleveland Cavaliers to discuss a deal involving George. No official word has been given on the potential players that could be involved however, Indiana could possibly inquire about the All-Stars Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. There is no guarantee that George would be committing to the Cavaliers or any team long-term if he is traded so giving up an All-Star player for him isn’t as appealing.

George who is a Southern California native has drawn interest in returning home and playing for the Lakers. Beyond teaming up with LeBron James in Cleveland, the other potential suitor could be a Los Angeles team.

The Lakers in the meantime are rumored to be looking for another first-round draft pick. They currently hold the the No. 2 and No. 28th pick in the upcoming NBA Draft this Thursday. The Lakers have reportedly willing to wait until George is a free agent to attract him and avoid trading away their core of young talent.

How the Celtics can help the Pacers appease Paul George

A lot this offseason has been made of the possibility of the Celtics trading the for Paul George and teaming up with Isaiah Thomas and the rest of the Celtics to try to topple current kings of the east; Lebron and the Cavs. What If instead of wearing Celtic green Isaiah and PG13 make a run at Lebron wearing Pacer blue?

Paul George has been quite vocal about his desire to compete for an NBA championship, but he has also professed his love for Indiana and the Pacer organization, saying in a February interview, “I want to be the first to bring a championship to Indiana. So that’s still on my mind … and something I definitely want to achieve in Indiana.”

Bringing in an All-NBA second team player be enough to persuade him to stay? It’s no secret the Pacers want PG13 to stay and bringing in Isaiah might be the best way to do it. A trade like this makes sense for Boston as it is going to have monster cap issues and a log jam at the guard positions when they presumably draft Markelle Fultz and IT, Avery Bradley’s and Marcus Smart’s contracts all are up after the 2018 season.

Trading Isaiah Thomas helps the Celtics keep most of their core intact and play Markelle Fultz at his primary position as he develops. It also gives Indiana the chance to show Paul George they are serious about being championship contenders.

(Pacers also throw in 2020 unprotected first round draft pick in this scenario)

In this trade, the Celtics get Myles Turner who is starting to look like a potential future all-star in Indiana after averaging 14.5 points 7.3 reb and 2.1 blocks a game in only 31 minutes a game. He also is signed to a very team-friendly contract for the next 3 years and would provide them with the flexibility to resign Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley. Turner might not seem like enough in return for a second team All-NBA player but Turner gives the Celtics what they need most. Rebounding and rim protection, he also is a capable jump shooter which is something Brad Stevens loves to see in his big men. A Celtics core built around Markelle Fultz, Jaylen Brown, Myles Turner and the 2018 Nets pick would be one that could possibly set them up to contend for the next decade, especially with the role players that they already have in place.

The harsh reality is that the Celtics don’t have the talent to beat the Golden State Warriors or the Cleveland Cavaliers anytime soon. Trading Isaiah and building around this new core would allow these young players to develop and as they are entering their primes. Their ascension would most likely coincide with the decline of the current versions of the Warriors and Cavs. Boston isn’t a sports town that hangs Eastern Conference finals banners, its championship or bust. Even with an addition like Gordon Hayward or Blake Griffin this Celtics team’s ceiling is still Eastern Conference champions, and frankly, that just isn’t enough for Boston fans. This trade would set up both the Pacers and Celtics for long term success, so who says no?

The NBA is thriving despite top heavy teams

Kevin Durant was the latest star player to partner with elite forces in the Summer of 2016. The 73-win Golden State Warriors saw a once in a lifetime opportunity. The NBA’s Salary Cap jumped about $24 million dollars in last summer due to the sudden increase of the Salary Cap from the TV revenue distribution in Collective Bargaining Agreement signed in 2011.

Today, Durant is a Finals MVP and NBA Champion. Has a nice ring to it huh?

The Warriors won 67 games this season even though he sat out for 19 of them and the Warriors still managed to win 14 games in a row during that span. The Western Conference certainly is a Golden State Era.

Out in the Eastern Conference, a King holds his throne with a now 3-5 record in the NBA Finals, a place he’s been to 7 straight times. He currently is joined by two All-Star caliber players in Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson. Both of these teams have met in the NBA Finals three years in a row, advantage Golden State with a 2-1 record. Both teams swept through their first and second round series in the 2017 NBA Playoffs. The Warriors were on the brink of history by nearly going 16-0 in the postseason before Cleveland ruined that in Game 5.

LeBron James called the Warriors a “juggernaut” and there is no end in sight for that super team with four All-Stars as they have just entered their prime of their careers. The Cavaliers as a two seed toppled the number one seed Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals this postseason. What was considered as a rubber match has the potential to turn into a near a decade of dominance from Cleveland and Golden State.

The NBA has peaked an all-time high of interest with the super team and the legacy of LeBron James chasing Michael Jordan’s. A global market that grows year after year has helped the NBA reach new heights on their viewership. The blowouts and the noncompetitive notion that the NBA may have can be disputed as the viewer ratings say otherwise.

Fans are tuning in to watch the Super Warriors. It’s must watch TV. Take this for data.

Keep in mind that this is just a count of television viewership. In today’s world, people are streaming this on tablets, smartphones, and computers. That’s not to say the NBA may struggle with a parity issue but audiences are tuning in nonetheless.

There is young talent in the NBA that needs time to be developed or perhaps you can strike gold like the Warriors and draft precisely. This would be one’s hope, who are against super teams, to pray for the emergence of another contender. From a business perspective, the NBA has no complaints. Four of the top five jerseys sold this year belonged to either a Cavaliers or Warriors player. Stephen Curry led all players with most jerseys sold followed by Lebron James at number two. Durant’s new Warrior jersey finished in the third spot.

Based on this alone you could say the focus is primarily on the two heavyweight teams in the NBA but again, this is what is bringing more people to watch the game of basketball. Is it bad basketball? The prolific three-point baskets and flashy dribble moves from Curry amaze even the casual fan. Never before in the NBA has there been a team that is equipped to shoot the three-point like this team.

People are watching but are people going to the games? The Warriors sold two court side tickets for Game 5 at $133K. That’s pretty outrageous if you’re the common American even living comfortable right? That’s just the icining on the cake for the league. Well the NBA set an all-time regular-season record for attendance for a third consecutive season.

Highest Total NBA Regular-Season Attendances All-Time
2016-17 … 21,997,412
2015-16 … 21,972,129
2014-15 … 21,926,548
2006-07 … 21,841,480
2005-06 … 21,595,804

Highest Average NBA Regular-Season Attendances All-Time
2016-17 … 17,884
2015-16 … 17,864
2014-15 … 17,826
2006-07 … 17,757
2005-06 … 17,558

People are watching but they are also showing up to watch. This summer for the NBA will be intriguing. Kyle Lowry, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Gordon Hayward, Serge Ibaka, and Paul Millsap are a few key free agents who could help boost a team to the contending level. The Warriors are flexing a new level of dominance in the NBA that will have a domino effect on the rest of the league. Not a fan of super teams? The NBA may not be for you in the coming years as this off-season could finally break your hope for more parity.

Those begging for more parity might need a quick history lesson. The 1980’s featured the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals as the number one seed in the Western Conference seven times.  Out of those seven times, the Lakers would be crown champions five times. In the same 1980’s the Boston Celtics went to five NBA Finals and were successful three times in winning the championship.

In the 1990’s six of the years were dominated by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. The Houston Rockets would win back-to-back championships while the Pistons opened up the decade with a championship in 1990. The entrance to the early 2000’s was the start of a Spurs dynasty in 1999 as Tim Duncan started his career off with an NBA Championship. Following that Kobe and Shaq tree-peated as Kobe went on to win two more in the late 2000’s with the Lakers.

See, historically the NBA has never seen parity even with the growth of franchises. However, it is now a circle of sharing the wealth and producing a dynasty in places never imagined years ago. Cleveland was never a successful franchise before Lebron James. The Miami Heat never tasted an NBA Finals before Dwyane Wade and the help from Shaq. The San Antonio Spurs never knew what a title was until Tim Duncan joined them in 1999 to start a dynasty. The Golden State Warriors never dominated an era in basketball prior to present day. Their first championship after the NBA/BAA merger was in 1956 and their second was in 1975.

Granted some of these teams gained success from draft picks, free agency, and the formation of All-Stars in one city. Keep in mind it happened outside of the Boston, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago markets that supposedly, only could attract top tier players. Cleveland and Golden State happen to be the next two in line that reaps the success of star power. A bit of luck, drafting the steal of a draft, or having the power to lure in star players in the free agency are the main paths to quick success. Perhaps NBA GMs and front offices aren’t seeing the light? Build a team to last a decade not to win in the moment?