Photo credit: Max Becherer, Associated Press
The 2017 NBA trading deadline has passed and the Indiana Pacers’ front office could not make a deal with anyone.
As the time drew near to the 3 p.m. deadline on Feb. 23, the Pacers entertained trade possibilities from the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers for four-time All-Star Paul George.
Ultimately, the Pacers retained their star player but what did they do to try and better a team that has clear voids in a various positions… NADA!
The next seven weeks will be rough for Pacers fans. Indiana sits at the no. 6 seed heading into Friday’s game with the Memphis Grizzlies; but for how long? The Pacers are still on a six-game losing streak after winning seven straight and are about to head into a tough March schedule.
Nine of the 16 games are against playoff teams. Two of the dates are trips north of the border where the Toronto Raptors will be waiting. Toronto eliminated Indiana last year in the first round of the playoffs before making a run to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Making Paul George happy is the only positive the Pacers can gain moving forward.
George has gone on record to say that he wants to be the first one to win a championship for Indiana. He also has gone on the same record for saying that if the Pacers can’t become title contenders then he will not commit long-term when the 2018 free agency period opens up.
Los Angeles is roughly an hour and 10-minute drive from George’s hometown of Palmdale, Calif. The Olympian has expressed interest on several occasions about playing for his hometown team, the Lakers.
The Pacers are left with an ultimatum here:
Turn into championship contenders in one year or finish writing the “Paul George” chapter of your franchise.
Either way, the clock is ticking.