It’s that time of year in the NBA — when the what-could-have-beens haunt teams that contended and fell short. Number 1 on that list, of course, is the Cleveland Cavaliers. And swirling are rumors that the Indiana Pacers star Paul George is the answer to the Cavs’ championship dreams. George is the player the Pacers keep hoping to build their own title dreams around, dreams which haven’t worked out.
That dream deferred saw longtime Pacers executive (and basketball legend) Larry Bird leave the organization in April, replaced by Kevin Pritchard. Bird had a lot invested in George — he practically hand-picked him at an early age, telling the young George (and everybody else) that he had superstar potential. Did Bird know, when he left, that George’s future would be elsewhere? The Pacers still have the team Bird put together last fall, a team he truly believed could contend. And George is still a season away from free agency. Time will tell, but George now has the example of Kevin Durant to follow: sometimes when you jump ship it works out pretty well. Did Bird see the writing on the wall?