All the talk over the weekend in the NBA world was dominated by Markelle Fultz and Paul George, the latter of whom indicated to his incumbent Pacers that he has no intention of re-signing with them when he becomes a free agent next summer.
George has made no secret about his wish to join his hometown Lakers, but Indiana has made clear that they intend to move him as soon as possible, with the Cleveland Cavaliers suddenly emerging as an option to rent his services next season. Now, there’s a whole new wrinkle to this scenario, as the Cavs are reportedly looking at other stars as potential targets.
The Pacers were already operating at a deficit in terms of bargaining leverage, and the Cavs’ apparent interest in acquiring Butler appears to be a ploy to try and force their hand. But it gets even more complicated than that.
Boston has long had interest in landing Butler, and staring down the barrel of an already-dominant Cavs squad with Butler now in tow could easily goad them into giving up their No. 3 pick in this summer’s draft and other assets to avoid that scenario. As for the Suns, they seem to be mostly interested in being the “third team” in a deal in order to bring more young assets into the fold and get something in return.
And the Cavs aren’t the only ones unexpectedly making a play for Chicago’s All-Star guard. Adrian Wojnarowski over at The Vertical reported on Monday that the Minnesota Timberwolves have engaged in talks with the Bulls recently, and Minnesota’s bevy of young assets makes them a very interesting potential trade partner.
The Cavs deserve major props for inserting themselves into each of these equations with George and Butler, and even if they miss out on one or both of their targets, they will have made life a little more miserable for their competition. The rumors are flying right and left as teams attempt to leverage others into getting better deals. And to think, we’re only a week into the offseason.