The Indiana Pacers are in the home stretch of their playoff push, but for a moment, it looked like they were going to have to march on without their best player.
Leading up to the NBA’s Feb. 23 trade deadline, it was widely perceived that Pacers star Paul George was on the trading block. However, after all the chatter, George stayed put in Indiana.
Many believed George didn’t relocate because Indiana didn’t find an adequate trade return, but according to team president Larry Bird, PG13 was never even on the trading block to begin with.
“I wasn’t motivated to move Paul George at the deadline,” Bird told the Los Angeles Times. “I can’t remember if it was even brought up or not. I don’t think it was. It’s all fake news anyway. You know that. Somebody’s gonna start it and (it) just was a snowball effect. (The phone call) was not about Paul George.”
George is under contract with the Pacers through the 2017-18 season. With a massive pay day on the horizon, Indiana will have to decide whether to extend its star player or move him before he hits free agency.
It’s been heavily rumored that George is interested in joining the Los Angeles Lakers, his hometown team. Bird’s former on-court rival Magic Johnson is the new shot-caller in Los Angeles, and is probably chomping at the bit to bring in a player of George’s caliber.
We’re guessing Bird is hoping George’s interest in the Lakers is just an alternative fact.
Thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images
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