The news hit the Celtics as they were preparing to make their midnight free agent phone calls, and according to sources among those who have dealings with the club, the C’s were stunned.
Celtics trade offer for Paul George back at trade deadline, per league source: Brooklyn pick (wound up being No. 1) and 3 other first-rounders.
Celtics offer on draft night for Paul George, per league source, was 3 first-round picks (not the Nets pick next year or the Lakers/Kings pick) and two starters (Crowder being one).
Most of the NBA execs I have talked to since Paul George trade feel that Kevin Pritchard was just too hell-bent on keeping George out of Eastern Conference; made it emotional instead of taking the best offer.
Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe:
This is obviously a self-serving leak by the Celtics, who omit key details. What would the protections have been on the Nets’ pick at the deadline? Would Indiana really have gotten it at No. 1? Which three first-round picks did Boston offer on draft night – and with what protections?
I also wouldn’t beat the Pacers up too much for passing at the trade deadline, when they also reportedly had an offer of four first-round picks from the Hawks. (Again: Which picks?) Indiana was trying to build a winner around George and impress him into staying long-term, and the designated-veteran-player extension was still potentially in play.
But that went out the window when George missed the All-NBA teams, and his trade value depreciated further when he told the Pacers he’d leave next summer.
Still, Indiana probably should have been more serious about dealing George before the deadline. By the offseason, it’s hard to imagine a version of the Boston offer that wouldn’t have topped Oklahoma City’s package.
Perhaps, the Pacers are just particularly high on Oladipo and Sabonis and this is getting spun. But sending George out of the East should have played no factor. Indiana, sans George, won’t be competing with the Celtics anytime soon.
I don’t know whether it was bad process or just wildly different valuations of Oladipo and Sabonis, but it sure seems the Pacers mishandled trading George.