The Pacers were supposed to take the next step this season. They paid to make that happen: 4 years/$58 million to Roy Hibbert and 5 year/$40 million for George Hill. Now, Hibbert looks awful and content to be so and Hill looks worth every penny of his contract if you cut it in half. Danny Granger is out with knee problems that are likely to plague him for the rest of his career (as knee problems often do), which puts him in the same boat as the rapidly aging David West. That leaves poor Paul George as the potential savior of the franchise--and it's pretty clear that he can't cut it. He's a very good player, a great piece, but he isn't a number one option, particularly on the offensive end of the court.
Does that mean he might be available in a trade? I think so. (A quick look at the Pacers blog Indy Cornrows shows a few fans already advocating the team being "blown up.") At the very least, it's intriguing to consider whether the Jazz could make a realistic offer that could work for both teams.
It's clear the Pacers want to win now; it's also clear they desperately need scoring. What if the Jazz offered them both in return for George? What if the Jazz offered either Millsap or Jefferson (the Pacers would likely find Millsap far more attractive given the presence of Hibbert) + Alec Burks in return for Paul George + either David West or a young big and DJ Augustin?
Millsap would instantly be the best overall player on the Pacers. He would go a long way toward helping the role players they have mesh. He wouldn't make them contenders, certainly, but he'd probably get them back in the playoffs this year. Plus, Alec Burks is exactly what the Pacers need: a young guy who can put points on the board. If Burks really has the potential to be a high class scorer, and the Pacers use him to score starting day one, he's more likely to reach that potential (as opposed to watching Foye shoot a lot, like he does here in Utah). With this trade, two years from now the Pacers might be pretty dang good, especially if Hibbert wakes up and Burks becomes as capable a scorer as many of us think he can be. Hill, Burks, Granger, Millsap, and Hibbert? Not too shabby.
The Jazz, on the other hand, would be stacked with versatile, young, and athletic talent 2-5. Imagine George and Hayward on the wings with Favors and Kanter down low. The defensive ability would be amazing. Wings at 6'8" each, with Kanter's new athleticism and Favors helping all over the floor. Offensively, both wings can pass, shoot, and board, especially if they aren't asked to be the first scoring option on the team. It would be a two way lineup that could really frighten an opponent.
Best of all, the defensive potential would be so good we could look for one dominant skill in a PG: passing. Get a dynamite passer with even a solid shot and willingness to contribute defensively as best he can, and the rest of the players could easily help make up for his deficiencies. (Kendall Marshall would be a perfect floor general for this squad, and it looks like he wouldn't cost too much, or maybe Amar gets his wish with Myck Kabongo.)
The possibility is so attractive to me I'd even be willing to part with our 2014 1st round pick in addition to Burks and Millsap/Jefferson. After all, the big we'd send would basically be house money. I think it helps both teams and, if the Pacers continue to struggle this year, just might be possible.
Pacers offer: Paul George and David West or DJ Augustin and a young big.
So, would you do it? Do you think these teams would?