Let the rumor mill tell it, and the Atlanta Hawks really, really wanted Paul George.
George, of course, still plays for the Indiana Pacers and has another year left on his deal, though the widely accepted thought seems to be his going back home to California and joining the Los Angeles Lakers.
Don’t tell that to the Hawks, who apparently offered the Pacers four first-round picks, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
Several teams made trade offers for George in February, including the Atlanta Hawks, who offered four first-round picks in exchange for him. George, who grew up as a Kobe Bryant fan in Southern California, has expressed an interest in playing for the Los Angeles Lakers in the past.
If true, it doesn’t make sense for the Pacers to turn down this offer. George seems as good as gone, especially after he just missed out on All-NBA teams, meaning the Pacers lost a chance at offering him more money than any other franchise. He’s been open about his desire to go West and team president Larry Bird just stepped down after a humiliating postseason exit.
There’s no quick fix for the Pacers if George decides to leave and the team doesn’t have a Russell Westbrook to sooth the loss of a major superstar. A small-market team like the Pacers dreams of a deal like this when losing a superstar, so the folks in charge had better hope another offer like this comes their way.
As for the Hawks, they’ll keep searching for a star forward to pair with Dwight Howard and others.