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NBA Rumor: Pacers, Cavaliers, and Nuggets in talks for Paul George, Kevin Love blockbuster

ESPN is reporting that the Pacers, Cavaliers, and Nuggets are discussing a trade that would send Paul George to Cleveland, Kevin Love to Denver, and players and draft assets to the Pacers. Something similar has been brewing since before the draft but the sides have yet to find a deal that meets all sides.

This is notable to the Celtics because it was also reported on draft night that the Celtics were in “serious” discussions with the Pacers about Paul George.

In fact, a few days ago, Adam Kaufman of WBZ News Radio and CBS Boston reported a whopper of a rumor. He reported that the Celtics were hoping to first sign Gordon Hayward, then ALSO trade for Paul George.

ESPN, in 25th night reported that rumor as well, saying “It's widely believed that the Celtics, meanwhile, want to sign a marquee free agent this summer, such as Utah's Gordon Hayward, and trade for George.”

Obviously, if the Celtics are serious about getting George, they just got some serious competition from the Cavs. The thinking there must be that they may only have one more shot to convince LeBron James to stay so they need to find a better mix of players around him. Swapping out Love for George may or may not accomplish that goal, but I can at least see the rationale.

The undercurrent to any interest in George indicates that teams are at least hopeful that he’ll fall in love with his new team and forget about his designs of skipping to Los Angeles next summer. Ironically, if he goes to the Cavs, both LeBron and George could choose to go to L.A. together and the Cavs would be left with a huge rebuilding effort (perhaps part of the rationale for potentially offloading Love’s deal in the process).

As for the Celtics rumored master plan of Hayward AND George, there are some serious complications and long term tax concerns to figure out if it takes place. Perhaps Ryan Bernardoni will provide more details.

The Pacers are clearly trying to get the most leverage back that they can in these negotiations. As early as February they might have been able to get 2 Nets picks from the Celtics in exchange for George, and now they have felt the “gut punch” of his drop in value. Leaking out that they’ve got suitors in the Cavs and Celtics is a good way to make sure that all the bidders come up with their best offers. We’ll see if this gets resolved soon or if it drags into the free agency period (starting in July).