Celtics boss Danny Ainge has said many times that he is not afraid to trade for a superstar player in the final year of his contract. Ainge has never backed up that boast in his 14 years at the helm of the C's, but during the NBA Draft on Thursday night it looked like the ultimate gamble might actually go down. Shortly after the Celtics selected Duke swingman Jayson Tatum No. 3 overall, The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted, "Indiana and Boston are engaged in serious talks on a Paul George trade, league sources tell @TheVertical."
Wojnarowski is the Adam Schefter of NBA news - the be-all and end-all, so his tweet sent Celtics fans into an immediate tizzy. But 10 minutes after the initial tweet, Woj slapped Boston fans down with this: "Sources: Boston, Indiana talks for Paul George had gained significant momentum, but sides are still apart on a possible deal."
Sources: Boston, Indiana talks for Paul George had gained significant momentum, but sides are still apart on a possible deal.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 23, 2017
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The Celtics can put together the best package for George unless the Lakers are willing to part with Brandon Ingram. Magic Johnson has repeatedly said that Ingram is not on the table for a potential trade but the prospect of placing George next to Lonzo Ball (who the Lakers selected No. 2 overall Thursday) this coming season is enticing for LA.
With George threatening to leave the Pacers for LA next summer, his trade stock has plummeted. The Celtics could likely land George for the Lakers/Kings pick they received from Philly and a player like Avery Bradley or Jae Crowder. The risk, of course, is that George bolts for LA next summer.
But Ainge has hinted in the past that he thinks that if a player gets a taste of playoff basketball in Boston, he will fall in love and be open to sign an extension. As long as the Celtics don't relinquish next year's Brooklyn pick, this may be a deal worth making.