Paul George says he left Pacers after they refused to add best PF, reportedly Anthony Davis

Former Pelicans forward Anthony Davis and former Pacers forward Paul George
David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

Paul George said there’s more to his Pacers exit than people realized.

Now with the Clippers, George is spilling a lot of beans.

Appearing on the “Knuckleheads with Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles” podcast, George listed several grievances leading up to his 2017 departure from Indiana – the Pacers trading Danny Granger rather than helping him recover from injury, the Pacers trading George Hill without informing George first, George appearing in trade rumors himself. Then, George revealed the final straw.


You know how it goes. Cats like, “Yo, P, I want to play with you.”

I ain’t going to say the names, because I’m going to keep their business private. I’m just going to say it like this: I had, at the time, the best power forward saying he wanted to come to Indy and team up with me.

They’re like, “We’re a mid-major. We’re a small market. We can’t do it. We’re a small market. We can’t afford that.” I’m like, “The best power forward wants to come play here. Y’all can’t make that work?” They didn’t want to do it.

So, I’m like – now, I’m pissed. Because it’s like, what am I doing here? You know what I mean? They don’t to win. I’ve got the best power forward that want to come play here. Not everybody chooses Indy to come play at. This dude wanted to come play here. They didn’t want to do it.

George said the Pacers called George saying they were instead interested in other players (a top-20/25 power forward and another player recovering from injury).


After that phone call, I’m like, “They don’t get it.” I called my agent like, “Man, get me up out of here.” They don’t want to win.

George told the Pacers he planned to leave in 2018 unrestricted free agency. They traded him to the Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

The big question: Who was that mystery power forward?

The top power forward in 2017 free agency was Blake Griffin. The Clippers gave him a near-max contract. I doubt he would’ve left L.A. for Indiana.

But the very best power forward in the league was Anthony Davis. And that’s reportedly whom George was referring to.

J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star:

Davis had three years left on his contract with the Pelicans. Maybe he wouldn’t have stayed in Indiana beyond that, but that’s a long time! Davis and George would have formed an awesome tandem.

Sure, there would have been risk with George headed toward unrestricted free agency in 2018. And acquiring Davis certainly would’ve required surrendering significant long-term assets.

But as George tells it, the Pacers were too risk-averse. I wouldn’t blame him for not wanting to stay with a team afraid of bottoming out and therefore reluctant to reach for championship contention.

Of course, there are other perspectives.

The summer of 2017 was right between Davis steadfastly proclaiming his commitment to New Orleans and openly wondering whether the Pelicans had his back. Would he have really pushed for a trade to Indiana? There’s a big difference between friendly banter with George and actually making a trade request. Stars talk about teaming up far more often than they actually team up.

Even if Davis requested a trade, would the Pelicans really have acquiesced? They resisted trading him when he asked out with just one-and-a-half seasons left on his deal. They had far more leverage when he had three full seasons remaining.

There’s a decent chance George got upset about something that never would’ve happened, anyway.

Of course,

Interestingly, a fear in Indiana – that George was bound for Los Angeles, maybe taking Davis with him – came to fruition. George (Clippers) and Davis (Lakers) are now rivals there.

Milwaukee Bucks reportedly to hire Adrian Griffin as head coach

Detroit Pistons v Toronto Raptors
Vaughn Ridley/NBAE via Getty Images

Buzz had been growing for a week that Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin was the favorite Bucks coaching candidate of Giannis Antetokounmpo. Nick Nurse had his backers in the organization, but in a superstar-driven league, the wishes of players like the Greek Freak hold a lot of sway (especially with him up for a new contract in a couple of years).

The Milwaukee Bucks are reportedly hiring Griffin as their next head coach, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

This reaction from Fred VanVleet should tell you all you need to know about how the Raptors players felt about Griffin.

This hire is a gamble by the Bucks, turning the keys of a contender over to a rookie coach, but Griffin is more than deserving of a shot. Griffin spent eight years as a role player in the NBA — after going undrafted out of Seton Hall hand having to play in the Philipines — and then got into coaching, starting as an assistant in Milwaukee from 2008-2010. Griffin is seen as a defensive-first coach with a strong player development background (he worked with Jimmy Butler in Chicago). He’s been at or near the top of the “guys who deserve a shot” list for years and was in consideration for the open Raptors job in Toronto.

Instead, he now takes over a contender, although with a roster that is getting older and more expensive fast (free agent center Brook Lopez turns 35 this year, Khris Middleton is 31 and has a $40.4 million player option, Jrue Holiday is 31 and extension eligible come the fall).

Griffin will replace Mike Budenholzer, who was let go despite winning a championship with this team in 2021. Budenholzer is a process guy and was considered too rigid and slow to make adjustments in the playoffs, and this year’s first-round elimination by the No. 8 seed Miami Heat was seen as the culmination of that (even though Antetokounmpo missed two games due to a back injury). Griffin will bring a different voice and some new looks to a Bucks team still in its championship window.

Don’t be surprised if the Bucks hire a former NBA head coach to be Griffin’s lead assistant, to give him a veteran voice as a sounding board.

Nurse had been considered one of the frontrunners for this job, but now looks like someone destined to land in Philadelphia or Phoenix.

Heat guard Gabe Vincent reportedly to play in Game 6


Officially, Heat guard Gabe Vincent is listed as questionable for a critical Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday night. He missed Game 5 due to a sprained ankle suffered late in Game 4 but was a partial participant in Saturday’s shootaround, according to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.

However, a report from Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports points to what everyone expects: Vincent will play in Game 6.

Miami needs him back if they are going to win Game 6 at home and end this series (the Heat lead the series 3-2).

Not just because Vincent has averaged 17.5 points per game this series, but because of his ball handling and shot creation. In the second half of Game 4 and through Game 5, the Celtics changed their defensive game plan, becoming aggressive at jumping passing lanes, bringing doubles on drivers, and trying to force turnovers. During the regular season the Celtics were a bottom-five team in forcing turnovers by design — they bet that their impressive one-on-one defenders could make shots difficult and so off-ball defenders largely stayed home on guys off the ball and didn’t take risks. That changed and Miami struggled to adjust in Game 5, with Kyle Lowry — starting in place of Vincent — having three costly early turnovers.

Vincent back in the lineup could help counter the Celtics’ defense. Miami also needs great games from Jimmy Butler (who looked tired in Game 5) and Bam Adebayo, who also had an off game in Boston.

The Heat want no part of a Game 7, they need to close this series out Saturday night. They need Vincent to do that.

Coaching carousel update: Nick Nurse has strong, not universal, support in Milwaukee


Five open coaching jobs remain around the NBA: Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors and Detroit Pistons.

Here is the latest on the searches to fill those openings.

• Nick Nurse may be the first domino to fall with him having drawn interest from the Suns, Bucks and 76ers. Nurse has strong support in Milwaukee, but it’s not universal, reports Ian Begley of

So it’s worth noting that, as of earlier this week, Nick Nurse’s candidacy had strong support within the organization. Though not all key stakeholders in Milwaukee were aligned on Nurse, per SNY sources.

• Nurse has interviewed in Phoenix as well. Their top target was current Clippers coach Tyronn Lue, according to multiple reports, but Begley reinforces what has been reported here at NBC Sports and other places: The Clippers are not expected to part ways with Lue. Even if they do, the Clippers will not let their coach walk to a division rival in Phoenix.

• Momentum appears to be building behind Suns’ assistant coach Kevin Young getting a promotion in Phoenix, with Marc Stein reporting he got a key endorsement.

Word is Young, who has also interviewed for the head coaching vacancies in Milwaukee and Toronto, has received a strong endorsement from Suns star Devin Booker.

• It would be risky to put a first-time head coach in charge of a contender in Phoenix. If new owner Mat Ishbia goes that route, look for the Suns to get a former NBA head coach to be his assistant (don’t be surprised to see that in Boston next season as well, where Joe Mazzulla is expected to remain as coach).

• Nurse, former Nets’ head coach and current Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, and Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin remain the finalists for the Bucks head coaching job. Stein reports Giannis Antetokounmpo is “intrigued” by Griffin.

• Toronto’s coaching search could be influenced by which direction team president Masai Ujiri decides to take the roster, something else up in the air. From ESPN’s Brian Windhorst on the Hoop Collective podcast (hat tip Real GM).

“In talking to folks that have been in touch with the Raptors recently, the Raptors don’t seem to know which direction they’re going to take. Whether or not they are going to focus on re-signing Fred VanVleet, extending Pascal Siakam, potentially making other roster upgrades. Or whether or not they’re going to send Fred VanVleet in a sign-and-trade, maybe investigate moving other players be it OG Anunoby or Pascal Siakam.”

• Multiple reports have Bucks’ assistant Charles Lee and former UConn coach Kevin Ollie as the frontrunners to be the next head coach in Detroit. Pistons’ ownership reportedly backed the Brinks truck up to Monty Williams’ house but he was not interested, Stein reported. The buzz has been that GM Troy Weaver is backing Ollie.

• The only coaching vacancy filled so far this offseason is Ime Udoka taking the job as the Rockets’ head coach.

Karl Malone pulls in $5 million with auction of 1992 Dream Team memorabilia

USA Men's Basketball Team vs Croatia, 1992 Summer Olympics
Richard Mackson /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

At one of Karl Malone’s car dealerships in Utah, the Hall of Famer used to display some of his memorabilia from the 1992 Dream Team — game-worn jerseys from Larry Bird and Michael Jordan, among other items.

Wednesday night, Malone auctioned off 24 pieces of that memorabilia, netting him a cool $5 million, something reported by Darren Rovell at the Action Network.

The biggest seller was a game-worn Michael Jordan jersey from the USA’s 127-76 thrashing of Lithuania in the medal round, it went for more than $3 million.

Other items sold include $360,000 for a Larry Bird game-worn jersey and $230,400 for a Charles Barkley uniform.