This season has been a fun one for the Indiana Pacers, who currently sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference but are clumped in with four other teams from the four to eight spots.
The recent injury to Tyrese Haliburton has thrown a spanner in the works, but the Pacers have been playing well without him, keeping up hopes of an intriguing playoff race.
However, while they could be a fun team to watch in the postseason, it still feels like they are a star away from being a serious contender in the Eastern Conference.
8 Points, 9 Seconds recently speculated that the Kawhi Leonard extension ruined the Pacers’ potential offseason plans, and one NBA insider just confirmed those suspicions.
According to long-time NBA insider Marc Stein and his newsletter, “The Stein LIne,” the Pacers were planning to make a run at Paul George in free agency this summer, but that likely isn’t possible anymore.
“George’s free agency had the potential to be one of next summer’s most interesting storylines with both Philadelphia and PG-13’s old friends in Indiana believed to be interested in pursuing him. The rising expectation across the league now, of course, is that George will do a new Kawhi-esque deal with the Clippers sooner rather than later … while James Harden (ineligible for an in-season contract extension) must wait until the summer before he, too, is expected to extend his stay in Clipperland.”
Leonard signed a three-year extension with the Clippers, and reports have indicated that George is working on a new deal to stay in LA, too, so he can remain teamed up with his fellow forward and James Harden (if he re-signs).
So far this season, George is averaging 23.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.7 assists while shooting 46.3% from the field and 41.8% from behind the three-point line.
He’s already 33 years old and will turn 34 this season, but his two-way excellence and elite shot creation would make him a great fit next to Haliburton in Indiana.
A potential George return to Indiana, especially now that Haliburton is in town leading the way, would be very exciting for the city, and the team was planning on trying to make it happen.