The Phoenix Suns are a team lacking a true superstar. Paul George is a top-tier superstar in the NBA.
Paul George (PG13) would be the perfect fit on the Phoenix Suns roster.
Reportedly the Los Angeles Lakers are trying to put together a big push for PG13. This may be the best chance to grab Paul George until he becomes a free agent – even if it is still a long-shot at best.
Paul George is one of the best two-way players in the NBA game, a versatile wingman with the length and athletic ability to guard a huge range of players. Why would the Indiana Pacers ever part with PG13?
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Suns fans, stop me if you’ve heard this one before: there could be issues with the front office to help facilitate a trade. While not on the level of the Phoenix Suns’ recent issues, Paul George and Larry Bird are not exactly best friends.
Prior to the 2015-16 season, Larry Bird started pushing heavily on his team for two changes: speed the pace up, and move Paul George to power forward. Paul George has the frame to play some power forward, but was clearly reluctant.
Bird didn’t exactly negotiation with Paul George. When asked about George’s desire to play power forward, Bird said, “well, he don’t make the decisions around here”. Larry Bird then told Paul George to go to his room.
Bird also doesn’t feel sympathy physically for Paul George sliding down to the 4 spot to guard bigger bodies, and wanted the team to run even more of Paul George at the 4 spot last season.
There is also be the fear of Paul George leaving in 2 years, when he can decline a player option for the 2018-19 season. Given the rising salary cap, Paul George will be due for a fresh max contract at that point, so he will certainly opt out.
The Pacers are not a deep team, with PG13 the only Pacers player scoring more than 14 points per game. Do they realistically think they’re getting past Lebron for the next couple years? Seems doubtful. Trading PG13 could help them rebuild and peak when Lebron is finally declining.
If Bird really wants to get the Pacers faster, the Suns have the pieces to facilitate that. While the Suns would only be guaranteed two years with Paul George, his talent is worth the risk, especially since the Suns could then offer him a mega-max contract.
Just how much should the Suns be willing to give up for Paul George? Short answer: a lot.
Long answer: The Indiana Pacers have very little going for them in terms of shooting, and long-term guard play. Their best ‘point guard’, George Hill, is 29 and averaged 12.1 points and 3.5 assists per game in 34 minutes. Monta Ellis, 30 years old, was their best shooting guard, averaging 13.8 points and 4.7 assists.
The Phoenix Suns could provide two instant starters for the Pacers. To realistically make this deal happen, there are two pieces that will have to be included: Eric Bledsoe, and the 4th overall pick in the 2016 draft.
Because of the talent of George, the Pacers would expect even more. The Suns could include Brandon Knight & even a (heavily, hopefully) protected future first round pick, which would give the Pacers two starters, the 4th overall pick, and a future asset from this trade. The Suns would then be able to let Booker run the show next season.
It is a risky move, but Paul George would be worth it. If you add a player like PG13, free agents will be much more likely to join the team – he is that good.
If the Pacers aren’t interested in Brandon Knight, Devin Booker could be an option. However, if the Suns were to give up Devin Booker, they certainly should not give up any additional assets (beyond Eric Bledsoe and the 4th overall pick).
If anything, the Suns would be in position to get the Pacers 1st round pick in 2016 from them, the 20th overall pick – or to try to dump the Tyson Chandler contract at the same time. Keeping Chandler would open up the jumbo lineup of PG13-Alex Len- Tyson Chandler at the 3-4-5 spots.
These are all long-shots for the Suns, but getting a proven superstar like Paul George is incredibly rare. PG13 just turned 26 this month, and should be back to being a top-5 player next season. Consolidating assets into a superstar would be a great move for the Suns.