When Paul George was traded from the Indiana Pacers last summer, he didn't exactly depart on good terms. See, he had been groping for weeks about wanting out of Indiana, and his play on the court was starting to suggest the same. PG's unwillingness to play for the city left them little choice... and thus had to send him packing to OKC.
Thing is, the result didn't turn out like most expected. Without their star, the Indiana Pacers rebuilt their identity and became a team that fit. After shockingly making the playoffs as the 5th seed, Indy took the Cavs to 7 games before evidently losing a heartbreaker in Cleveland. And after a sub-par season with the Thunder, Paul George found himself out in the very first round after losing to the Jazz in just 6 games.
In short, the Pacers found that they fared much better since the departure of George. But does it mean they won't take him back if he decides to give Indiana a call this summer?
Pacers' GM Kevin Pritchard recently commented on this very scenario, after being asked deliberately if he'd go after the former Indy superstar:
"I would want to know first that he would fit us. We're different now, Dan. One of the things we're about, we don't care about big names, we don't care about big personalities we don't care about big brands. What we care about is being humble ...
"Anybody that fits in, yeah we're interested ... I can't talk on specific players. But if they don't fit that, I'm not interested. It's that simple."
Granted, it's no "yes or no" answer, but the message is still clear: they don't need him.
This season, the Pacers found that they don't need to chase stars anymore. Patience, trust, and humility are what they're all about now. Maybe more teams should look to follow in their footsteps?