Apparently, the Atlanta Hawks really wanted to acquire Paul George at the NBA trade deadline.
George has been the subject of trade rumors for a while, as it’s unclear whether the Indiana Pacers will be able to sign the four-time All-Star to a long-term contract before or when his current deal expires following the 2018 season. The Boston Celtics reportedly expressed interest in George leading up to the deadline, but the Hawks perhaps made the strongest push.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Hawks offered four first-round draft picks for George back in February. That’s obviously a huge haul, and the Pacers’ refusal to pull the trigger speaks to their desire to keep George for the foreseeable future despite his looming free agency.
Unfortunately for the Pacers, George’s exclusion from one of this season’s All-NBA teams could hurt their ability to lock up the 27-year-old this summer. The Pacers could have offered George the richest contract in NBA history — and added up to five years and approximately $210 million to his contract, according to ESPN.com — if he made one of the three teams. That’s about $75 million more than any other team could guarantee George in free agency in 2018, which makes for a rather sizable incentive to stay put.
On the other side of the coin, it’s interesting to hear that the Hawks went to such great lengths to try to acquire George. He’s obviously a very talented player, but the Cleveland Cavaliers appear to be head and shoulders above everyone else in the Eastern Conference. Landing George might have done little to change that, and there’s also the risk he would sign elsewhere in free agency next season, leaving the Hawks with little to show for their massive investment on the trade market.
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