By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The plot thickens.
It’s been reported that the Celtics and Pacers have the parameters for a Paul George trade essentially agreed upon, and the Celtics are just waiting to see if they land Gordon Hayward in free agency to make the move.
The package that Danny Ainge and the the Celtics are sending to Indiana has been reported as Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley or Tyler Zeller’s contract plus a few draft picks, ones that are not the coveted 2018 Brooklyn Nets pick or the 2018 L.A. Lakers/2019 Kings or 76ers pick Boston received from Philadelphia for the No. 1 pick in last week’s draft.
That’s not a bad little deal for a guy with George’s scoring prowess, and someone who happens to be heading into the final year of his contract.
But not so fast. According to The Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy, Indiana wants more. A lot more.
That Lakers/76ers/Kings pick? Sure. The Celtics should have to give up something of value to get a player of George’s caliber, even if it’s just a one-year flyer (plus, who really wants the headache of waiting to see what that pick becomes?). But, to put it in the nicest way possible, asking for both of those picks is simply lunacy on the Pacers’ part. Especially if one of those starting players happens to be second-year guard Jaylen Brown.
George has said he’d like to play for his hometown Lakers, so the Celtics run the risk of giving up a boatload of assets for one-year rental. It’s a huge gamble, one Danny Ainge likely won’t be willing to make if he has to cast off both the Brooklyn pick (which has No. 1 overall potential once again) in addition to that protected selection he received in his swap with Philly. He knows he has the most assets to deal of anyone else in the NBA, and the Pacers aren’t really in a position to demand the kind of king’s ransom the Houston Rockets just gave up for Chris Paul.
If George is willing to sign an extension with the Celtics, then it may be worth it for Boston. Otherwise, it’s simply too much of a gamble.
This could just be the Pacers posturing for more from Ainge, which he said happens quite a bit when trying to work out trades with teams following last week’s NBA Draft. The Celtics aren’t alone in their pursuit of George either, with the Rockets, Cavaliers and Lakers also reportedly vying to get the All-Star guard.
So for now, what seemed close to a sure thing is getting a little cloudier. We’ll have to wait and see which side blinks first.