INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Draft day is over but the drama may not be.
The Pacers front office may still move Paul George out of town, quickly too. Despite all the rumors and all the talk, the team was unable to make a deal to trade him. The team reportedly has talked to several other teams including the Lakers and Boston Celtics but ultimately no deal has been made.
This past week, Paul George publicly said he plans to leave the Pacers after this upcoming season and he wants to sign with the Lakers as a free agent in 2018. That leaves the Pacers in a no-win situation. The team can either trade him now for what they can get or keep him for one more season and lose him for nothing. Pacers General Manager Kevin Pritchard made it very clear Thursday night he was not happy about George saying publicly he was leaving.
“Couldn’t come at a worse time for me,” said Pritchard. “If we would have known this a little longer ago or a few months ago, we could have been more prepared and then the way it got out was a little struggling to us, we struggled with that. For me it was a gut punch, the message over the summer up until this weekend was let’s build a winning team here. So when that came in that he wanted to look at another place, it was a gut punch for us.”
But the draft wasn’t all about Paul George. The Pacers did draft power forward T.J. Leaf from UCLA with the 18th pick. They also drafted his former teammate at UCLA Ike Anigbogu at number 47, another forward and center. And the team traded with New Orleans for point guard Edmond Sumner.
T.J. Leaf will be in town later Friday and is set to hold a news conference at 3:30 p.m.