Sixers tried to trade for Paul George before trade deadline, made ‘significant’ offer
As last month’s trade deadline closed in, one of the stars that was consistently involved in trade chatter was Paul George. A team even emerged as the rumored frontrunner to land his services, but nothing materialized, and he remains part of the Indiana Pacers.
Although the Boston Celtics were believed to have the most assets to present in exchange for him, a surprise team reportedly also joined the sweepstakes for the four-time All-Star forward. According to Kyle Neubeck of Liberty Ballers, the Philadelphia 76ers apparently made Robert Covington, Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel, and at least two first round picks available to the Pacers. However, they declined as the Sixers were not planning to part ways with their first rounders beyond 2017, which they are saving as an insurance in case George leaves them after next season.
“Standoffish though Larry Bird may have been, the Sixers did indeed make an offer for the Pacers forward. Multiple sources told Liberty Ballers the Sixers offered Indiana their choice of one of the Sixers’ young bigs, Robert Covington, and at least two first round picks for his services.”
“According to multiple sources, the Sixers’ preference was to keep their own future picks and move the draft rights of other teams — like those of the Lakers and Kings — in an effort to protect themselves against George leaving. However, the Sixers were not turned off by George’s reported preference to play for the Lakers, according to one member of the organization, and believed they could sell George on staying with the Sixers long-term by enticing him to play with their promising core players. As a result, their own picks beyond the 2017 draft were not untouchable, per sources.”
Although it was understandable that the Pacers top brass did not take the offer, as they believe they can add more talent around George to make him stay, they are still back to where they started before the season. They remain vulnerable to George deciding to go elsewhere and get nothing in return, which will hurt their chances of competing for a title anytime soon.
Sixers fans are left to wonder what could have been if they were able to add the 26-year-old Fresno State product to their fold. They would’ve had a very strong starting lineup featuring George alongside Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, T.J. McConnell and a potential shooting guard from the draft.
If there’s any good news for the Philly faithful, they still have their future draft picks, and could make their roster better by adding more young talent who can be part of their long term plans. George, on the other hand, will have a lot to ponder before he makes his decision this offseason.