The Pacers‘ time with Paul George was expected to reach an end in the near future. Once he was left off the All-NBA team, and couldn’t qualify for a super max contract with Indiana, his free agency felt inevitable. The threat of Los Angeles became very real in the minds of everyone.
Everybody except the Pacers, apparently. Reportedly, the Pacers were surprised when George’s agent left them a message that he planned on becoming a free agent in 2018 and his preferred destination was the Lakers. New Indiana general manager, Kevin Pritchard, was apparently planning on building his team around George.
It would be strange if the Pacers were truly blindsided by this move. They had to know George’s free agency was coming up and that they weren’t currently in the process of competing for a title. The majority of the roster is filled with veterans that don’t have much room for improvement. With George’s known aspirations to one day play in Los Angeles, it’s hard to see how the Pacers didn’t see this coming.
The Pacers must now make some quick decisions on George. If they were really building the team around him then they have to come up with a new path for the future of the franchise. Do they still want to compete or are they in the verge of a rebuild?