Among all the drama of the NBA Draft the other night, one rumor that was popular but never materialized was that of Paul George being traded to Boston midway through the draft.
PG was rumored to be traded for Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and the 3rd pick in the draft, which was used to select Jayson Tatum out off Duke. Now obviously, this trade never happened, but George going to Boston is still on the cards apparently.
Zach Lowe of ESPN, along with Adam Kaufman, has reported that Paul George could still be traded to the Celtics if Boston manages to land Utah star Gordon Hayward in free agency.
Take this FWIW: Hearing #Celtics in position to deal 4 George with 3-yr ext in place, but will depend on signing Hayward 1st. Lotsa dominos.
— Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) June 23, 2017
I believe this would be subject to extend-and-trade salary/raise limitations, which would be unfavorable to PG vs just going into FA. https://t.co/vOsFZgVK1C
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) June 23, 2017
As Lowe stated, George would need to extend his contract with the Pacers and then be traded to Boston once Hayward signs so the salary is more favorable to the Celtics’ cap space, as Boston would have pretty much 3 max contract players on their roster if this pans out. George may be against this move considering he could command much more money on the free agency market.
Regardless of the situation, PG has stated before he “would love to play” alongside Gordon Hayward, and that is extremely achievable in Boston when you consider that the Celtics have been on Hayward’s free agency radar since the start of the season.
If Boston does manage to pull off this move, after signing Hayward of course, they could easily be competing at the top of the Eastern Conference for the foreseeable future, especially with all the draft picks they have for 2018 and 2019.
Whether they can go head-to-head against Golden State for an NBA title is a completely different story.