Pelicans Should Do Whatever it Takes to Get Into Paul George Talks

It is rare that a superstar in his prime can be had for 25-30 cents on the dollar, but because of the specific set of circumstances surrounding him, that might be all it takes to acquire Paul George at this moment. George has let it be known to Pacers management that he plans on leaving in free agency next offseason, and it is no secret that his preferred destination in the LA Lakers. This puts the other 28 teams in a strange place, as trading for him likely means surrendering assets for a guy who is going to walk in 12 months. And is a rental for 12 months a smart idea when it is a near certainty that the Warriors are going to win it all again?

For the Pelicans, I say yes.

Notice the words that were used — PREFERRED destination. LIKELY be a rental. The one thing we know about the NBA is that there are no certainties, and anybody who thinks it is an absolute lock that George will go to LA next summer, doesn’t realize just how much can happen in a 12 month span in the NBA. Remember how in the summer of 2015, the Wizards were getting all their ducks in a row to chase KD and considered the biggest threat to OKC? Flash forward 12 months later, and after a disappointing season, KD didn’t even return their calls or go on a visit.

The Lakers might continue to be a mess. They could draft Lonzo Ball and his dad could hog the spotlight and create a toxic environment that no sane player would want to jump in to. Or maybe Ingram doesn’t develop, and D’Angelo Russell continues to display tremendous levels on immaturity. Maybe they continue to stink, and let’s remember that they don’t have their own pick next year. Would George be dying to head there (and take less years/money by the way), or would he change course and stay with/go to a winner?

And maybe it’s not all about the Lakers being a mess. Maybe the team that “rents” him this season is just really good. Maybe they have players and a culture that he falls in love with. George has been playing in a slow, grind it out system for years. Imagine he comes to New Orleans and gets to play uptempo in a Gentry system that has a lot of Chris Finch’s half-court elements, where he can play off ball, cut and hit wide open 3’s. He no longer has to grind out every win on his own, and when it comes to the end of games (where he struggles), he now has the #1 clutch player in the entire league on his side.

Are you telling me that George, Davis, and Cousins bond over an entire season; Bleed, sweat, and struggle together…. Then, come out the other end massively successful, and George walks to LA just a month or two later? Color me skeptical that it would be an absolute lock. So, if you do have a chance at those three being your core for the next 4-5 years, why wouldn’t you take it?

Even if it’s just a 25-30% chance that everything goes right this season and those guys bond, isn’t that a better chance than you have of luring a John Wall or Jimmy Butler in two seasons? Yes, it’s risky, but what’s the alternative? Do any of you have a path that is 100% guaranteed to land a third mega star on this Pelicans team in the next 12-24 months?

I didn’t think so.

Now, once you have talked yourself into making the deal, the question is whether you can offer Indiana enough for them to choose you. Again, if other teams are willing to take the same gamble, the Pelicans don’t stand a chance. Their assets are minimal and they don’t really have any players that Indiana would be ecstatic to have. The best you could do is something like Moore, Diallo, QPon, Ajinca, and a bevy of picks in future years. Would Indiana say yes? Again, it all comes down to what others are offering.

But that is outside of your control, Dell Demps. What is in your control is whether or not you go after him with all guns blazing. I have laid out the case why doing so is the best path. Boogie didn’t seem possible for the assets the Pelicans had to offer, but you pulled it off. Got another rabbit up those sleeves?

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