If nothing else, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ loss in the NBA Finals forced the organization to take a long, hard look at how the roster was constructed.
Diced by Kevin Durant throughout the Finals, the Cavaliers constantly looked more like David rather than Goliath, though no stone, nor bravery, nor stroke of good luck could save the Cavs in their quest for a second consecutive title. Instead, the Cavaliers enter the offseason with question marks and the potential for a ton of drama.
Sunday, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported that the Pacers have reached out to the Cavs about a potential trade involving Paul George. Presumably, the Pacers’ asking price would center around Kevin Love.
For the Cavs, the trade would make sense, as talent alone would allow them to dominate the Eastern Conference, and the addition of George would allow them to match up better with the Warriors’ small-ball lineups. The Pacers would be able to stay relevant and rebuild around Love and Myles Turner, while also being an attractive landing spot for free agents.
While a swap of George and Love would have an impact for the teams involved, a trade could certainly have a massive ripple effect for the rest of the league, as well.
One team that would be undoubtedly affected would be the Lakers, who are expected to be a top suitor for George in the summer of 2018 when he hits the free agent market.
If George does indeed go to the Cavaliers, the Lakers might be spurred into action, thinking either that they need to move on from the dream of landing George or that they need to make themselves into an attractive landing spot for George next summer.
One option for re-stocking the cupboard might include the Bulls, who might be staring down the barrel of a full-fledged rebuild in Chicago. Restricted by bad contracts, the Bulls lack the capacity to develop into a true contender before Jimmy Butler’s contract expires in the summer of 2019. Because of this, the Bulls could look on from Butler, and stocked with multiple young assets and the 2nd overall selection in the NBA Draft, the Lakers could be a suitor.
However, that’s not where it ends for the Bulls and Butler. The Celtics have been rumored to be interested in Butler’s services since prior to last year’s trade deadline. Now, armed with even more assets after trading this season’s first round selection (which ultimately will be Markelle Fultz) to the 76ers, the Celtics may zero in on making a move to land Butler in Boston.
This is significant because if the Lakers appear as suitors for Butler, a bidding war between the long-time rivals might ensue, which would be perfect for the Bulls who would be looking to start the rebuilding process.
Perhaps the most significant development of talks of Paul George being dealt to Cleveland is the notion that the rest of the NBA feels a need to re-tool their rosters to compete with the likes of the Warriors. Golden State is at the top of the mountain right now. In a way, they have revolutionized the way the game of basketball is being played and the way it is being perceived in front offices around the NBA.
This should be a fun offseason.