With another disappointing playoff elimination for the Indiana Pacers, Paul George has decided his future in the NBA might be best fit for a different location. He informed the Pacers this weekend that he intends to test free agency in the Summer of 2018. With the Cleveland Cavaliers having a solid lock on the Eastern Conference and the Golden State Warriors controlling the Western Conference, many teams are interested in taking on the All Star forward and increasing their abilities to contend with those super teams.
Rumors had been circulating ever since the Pacers got eliminated that Cleveland was the likely destination for George. After the Cavs couldn’t get it done this year against the Warriors in the NBA Finals, the amount of rumors increased, citing it would be beneficial for both PG13 and the Cavs. George could add scoring and defense to the already stacked Cavaliers, making them much tougher competition for the Warriors. PG would also finally, assumedly, get the opportunity to compete on the big stage for a championship ring.
This super team phenomenon dates way back to the days of the Showtime Lakers, but more recently the 2008 NBA Champion Boston Celtics popularized when they brought together Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and a young Rajon Rondo. The Celtics would go again in 2010, losing to the Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James, seeking to contend with Boston, took his talents to South Beach in 2010, joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat. That team went to 4 straight NBA Finals, winning in 2012 and 2013.
Then LeBron James went back to Cleveland in 2014, bringing along Kevin Love and joining point guard Kyrie Irving. The 2015 loss in the NBA Finals to Golden State was followed up with the infamous come from behind victory down 3 games to 1 in the 2016 Finals. Golden State, recognizing that even with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green that they were still susceptible to King James’s dominance, added superstar forward Kevin Durant. KD went on to lead them to a 2017 NBA Finals victory in 5 games in their third consecutive matchup with Cleveland.
Like it or not, the super team is the prominent trend in the NBA. Load up on superstars willing to take pay cuts in exchange for rings and find ways to ensure they play together. Paul George and LeBron James are very good friends, engaging in some of the best battles we have seen on the hardwood floor both in regular season matchups and in the Playoffs. There’s much respect shared between them, and the common goal of winning rings. There is some concern as to how the Cavaliers would pay him, or who they would have to give up in case of a trade. There is also the looming rumor that Paul George is seeking to go back home to Los Angeles and join the Lakers. Whatever happens, this next year in the NBA ought to be very interesting.