Teams ponder George trade as NBA free agency begins

WASHINGTON • Indiana Pacers forward Paul George is being wooed by several clubs as the National Basketball Association (NBA) prepares for the start of free agency today.

Teams can negotiate terms and deals with available talent starting this weekend but there is an embargo on signing any contracts until next Thursday.

Clubs have already been juggling room under the NBA salary cap and personnel to try and find room for top talent, or to bring back their own stars.

But George's case is special. He has vowed to play through next season with Indiana but the four-time All-Star intends to leave when his contract expires next year. That could, in turn, prompt Indiana to make a trade for him soon in order to ensure they are able to gain something in return even in losing George.

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While he has said he would like to play for the Los Angeles Lakers, other clubs are hoping he might join them first, including the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to several US media reports.

Cleveland was supposedly looking to work a three-team deal with Denver that would send Kevin Love to the Nuggets and George to the Cavaliers.

Love has two seasons left on his contract with Cleveland plus a player option for the 2019-20 campaign.

The move could be the Cavs' next move in a talent build-up with Golden State, the foe they faced in the past three NBA Finals, losing this year after the Warriors added Kevin Durant last July.

George, who averaged a career-best 23.7 points per game last season, is also reportedly being eyed by the Lakers, Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs.

Also pitching George was Washington Wizards guard John Wall.

"I know his ultimate goal of where he wants to be. I'm trying to see if we can make something happen," Wall told ESPN.

"We are one piece away... (George) is a guy that can guard LeBron and go back at LeBron. It's a piece that you're going to need to win. If you don't have a guy who can do that, you don't have a chance."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2017, with the headline 'Teams ponder George trade as NBA free agency begins'. Print Edition | Subscribe