Thursday night, the Indiana Pacers fell to 0-3 against their first round opponent, the Cleveland Cavaliers. After blowing a 25-point lead, it seems a series sweep is imminent. That being said, there is more on the line here, than just the road to a championship.
Let me take you back to the trade deadline. Larry Bird decided to listen to trade offers on his star forward Paul George, without informing the Pacers’ best player:
“You want me to be your guy here, thought I would have been in the loop a little more on trade talks.”
George was highly upset and discerned by the news of his name floating in trade offers, and nearly admitted that his free agency exit would be certain. Wanting to focus on the road to playoffs, tensions were set aside. In Game 1, the Pacers lost following a buzzer beater miss by C.J. Miles. George had some criticism for his teammate’s decision to put the game in his own hands:
“I talked to C.J. about it, in situations like that, I have to have the last shot.”
Now, the Indiana Pacers are set to be swept by Cleveland. This among other things, will most assuredly confirm George’s departure.
Set to become a free agent after the following season, it’s been rumored throughout the league that he’s headed to Los Angeles. Should the Pacers get knocked out, I doubt the front office will wait around for George to exit on his own accord. It’s more likely that they will find a trade partner (*cough* Lakers *cough*) and end his tenure with the team.
Paul has averaged: (18.1) points, (6.3) rebounds, and a (43%) field goal percentage through (448) games and (7) seasons in Indiana. George is one of the greatest Pacers of all time. His legacy is on the line, come Game 4 this Sunday, April 23rd at 1 PM EST.
All stats and information were provided by ESPN and NBA.com. Featured image provided by Sporting News via Google Images.