My Trade Prediction:
Cleveland receives Paul George
Indiana receives Kevin Love, two first round draft picks
Paul George announced he does not want to return to Indiana after his contract expires in 2018 and prefers to take his talents to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers. It was then being reported that the Pacers were trying to move George to several teams including the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Why does it make sense for the Pacers?
When Paul George announced he had his mind set on joining the Lakers in 2018 his trade value dropped a bunch. Many teams will be hesitant to give up valuable players or picks knowing that he will be a one-year rental. It is reported they are trying to move him to the Lakers, but the Lakers would be wise not to even bother giving up anything close to value as they can expect him to come over in a year. The Lakers are nowhere close to being a contender this year so they are better off waiting a year for George to hit free agency. Other teams will follow the Lakers’ path in hopes that they can snag him in free agency instead of giving up future pieces. The team that would give the most in return for PG13 would be the Cleveland Cavaliers who are in ultimate win-now mode. The Pacers would probably receive Kevin Love in love and at least one first round pick. Kevin Love alone would be more than they would receive from any other team. They will now retain a superstar that is under contract longer than Paul George. George is the better player of the two, but they will be able to stay competitive with Love and bring in ticket sales.
Why does it make sense for the Cavaliers?
Like I stated the Cavaliers are in ultimate win-now mode. They have the best player on the planet (Lebron James) and arguably the best Point Guard in the game (Kyrie Irving). Kevin Love had an abysmal finals performance. There were rumors before the playoffs that Love may be moved for another superstar and I think it finally gets done here. The Cavaliers overlook the fact that Paul George may jet after one season because they’re only looking at this upcoming season. They know they can return to the finals with a trio of James, Irving, and Love. Their biggest challenge throughout the playoffs was actually Paul George and the Pacers. If they swap Love for George and throw in a first round pick or two they know they have the firepower to beat the Warriors if they were to meet again in the finals. Lebron will push the front office to get this deal done and I would not be surprised if we see this trade completed before draft night.