Add the Los Angeles Clippers to the growing list of NBA teams interested in prying Paul George away from the Indiana Pacers.
From the Sporting News’ Sean Deveney:
Instead of corralling a worthy package in February, Indiana is looking for a panic-time deal involving George, one they hope to close ahead of Thursday’s draft. The league has been warned that George wants to play for the Lakers, vastly undercutting any package for George, especially if the Pacers had hoped to add draft picks.
But the Pacers could, too, wait until after July 1 on a deal, if their best course of action involves a sign-and-trade. That, at least, gives the Pacers the chance to widen their base of possible George trade targets. Among them, league sources told Sporting News, are the Clippers, who have three significant free agents — Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick — and are desperate to add a player who could change their perennial postseason disappointment. The Clippers have expressed interest in George.
In a vacuum, the Clippers are a good destination for George. They aren’t the Los Angeles Lakers, but they’re still in Hollywood—and they’re ready to win now.
But a sign-and-trade isn’t happening.
Even if the Pacers were interested in dealing for one of J.J. Redick or Blake Griffin, the Clippers need the consent of either one. There are no financial incentives for Griffin in this scenario. He cannot get a five-year max in a sign-and-trade, and he’ll have a host of other four-year offers from other teams. He’ll have to want to play for an Indiana team that no longer has George.
Ditto for Redick, albeit to a lesser degree. The Pacers could technically agree to overpay him in a sign-and-trade, but it’s pointless for them to give, say, $20 million per year to a 32-year-old shooter when they’re entering a rebuild.
Make no mistake, things get interesting if the Pacers wait until after the draft. No matter when they move him, though, the Clippers aren’t likely to be involved.