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NBA AM: Paul George Will Be Expensive

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It’s Deadline Day!

All the hype about trades in the NBA comes to end today at 3 p.m. EST. While there has been a flurry of deals already this week, the bulk of moves usually happen at the eleventh hour, so here are some of the things we have heard recently:

Paul George Will Be Expensive

Yesterday, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical dropped a story suggesting that after meeting with Pacers ownership in New Orleans during All-Star weekend, Pacers forward Paul George pledged a desire to be a Pacer long-term, but only if the team is in a position to compete for a championship.

This has prompted the Pacers to not only pick up the pace in trying to add serious talent to the roster, but it’s also prompted the Pacers to consider which road is easier; moving George in trade or adding talent.

A league source (whose team inquired about George) said yesterday that George would be massively expensive to obtain in trade, suggesting his team did not have nearly the assets to pursue a trade for George. The same source said that anything involving him would require almost everything a team had to offer based on the stance the Pacers had this week.

There have been reports that both the Boston Celtics and LA Lakers view the price tag on George as too high, especially considering George could be a free agent in 16 months.

There are a couple of factors that still need to play out before the Pacers have to decide whether to trade George, the first being whether he lands on an All-NBA team this season and qualifies for a Designated Veteran Extension. If that occurs, the Pacers can pay George $30 million more in salary than any other situation, giving them a huge financial advantage. The second part is what the team can do today at the deadline and again around the draft and free agency in adding the kinds of player George seeks.

Given his stance on his future, this likely won’t be the last of Paul George trade rumors. While there is still time for things to evolve, the stance this morning seems to be no one will meet the price for his service today, although things can and often do change at the trade deadline.

Denver Not Giving It Away

The Denver Nuggets completed one deal already in the current trade cycle, dealing for Mason Plumlee. There have been a few additional names on the market for some time, including veteran Wilson Chandler and possibly free agent Danilo Gallinari. Chandler was viewed by many around the NBA as the most likely player moved, mainly because his camp has been pushing for a trade all year.

The problem some teams are facing with regards to Chandler specifically is the Nuggets won’t just give him away for a second-round pick as many expected to be the case as the deadline approached.

The prevailing thought today is that if Denver can’t get the value they are looking for they would rather keep Chandler for their playoff push.

Chandler was viewed as the primary target for the Oklahoma City Thunder after Kings forward Rudy Gay tore his Achilles back in mid-January.

Reports this week suggest that the Thunder have dropped their purist of Chandler, mainly due to the expected cost of a high-level first-round draft pick or promising rookie scale player.

Chandler was linked to both the Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards. However, the Wizards completed a deal yesterday to obtain Bojan Bogdanovic from the Nets.

Denver remains active at the deadline, according to a source close to the situation. It remains to be seen if the Nuggets will come down on their expected return on a deal.

Oklahoma City Still Looking

While the Thunder may have moved on from Nuggets swingman Wilson Chandler, they remain aggressive at the deadline trying to add some talent to the roster. There are a few names that continue to circulate as possiblities for the Thunder, one of which is Kings swingman Aaron Afflalo.

Afflalo has just $1.5 million of his $12.5 million salary for next season guaranteed, making him a low-risk short-term rental. The Kings are believed to be pushing for an Afflalo trade fairly aggressively. With Chandler no longer considered an option (unless Denver lowers the price), Afflalo could be the next choice.

Another name that could come at a very low price for the Thunder is Lakers guard Nick Young. While Young has played well for the Lakers this season, there is still a considerable stigma around him as a personality in the locker room.

Young has a Player Option for next season worth $5.6 million, which could be a deterrent for a team unsure of his fit. The Lakers are said to be looking for just a second-round pick for Young in efforts to move him, and to get his possible cap hit off the books.

The Thunder were linked to Chicago’s Taj Gibson this morning by ESPN’s Marc Stein as the Bulls continue to weight their options on moving Gibson and their pursuit of Philadelphia big man Jahlil Okafor.

The Thunder have a long history of making deals at the deadline; they remain a team that’s expected to trigger a deal today. The question remains whether they can sway the Nuggets into the deal they really want or if they move on to secondary options.

Kings Got Pieces To Move

While the Kings have expressed interest in moving guard Aaron Afflalo, there are more names to watch in Sacramento; namely big man Kostas Koufos, guard Darren Collison and guard Ben McLemore.

With the Kings moving on from DeMarcus Cousins, there is a belief the team is headed towards a full-on tank job and moving off or cashing out guys that are no longer part of the game plan.

A Kings source warned that the team wasn’t just giving away guys, but that they were very open to deals that included rookie scale players or draft picks in the near term; either this year or next year.

Given the timing of all of this and how the Kings front office has approached trades under Vlade Divac, there may not be enough time to complete everything the Kings would be open to doing, but there is a sense almost any of these players could be had for a good return.

Knicks Still Working

Hopefully you did not buy a Derrick Rose Knicks jersey, as it may be a collector’s item after 3 p.m. today. The prevailing thought from New York is that Rose can be had for very little in return. The problem with moving Rose is managing the cap implications of his $21.3 million base salary. While the Knicks have paid 70 percent of the cash owed, the acquiring team must be able to absorb the contract value into its cap. This is where the Minnesota Timberwolves and their remaining $12.68 million in cap space come into play.

The Wolves and Knicks have been talking about a swap built around Derrick Rose and Ricky Rubio. The challenge for the Knicks is they are lukewarm on Rubio’s remaining $29.2-plus million in contract money, specifically the $14.25 million owed next season, which would bite into the Knicks’ free cap space.

There has been talk that if the Wolves include Nemanja Bjelica or Shabazz Muhammad in the deal that this might get done today, but as of this morning it still seemed up in the air.

The Knicks have also been dangling big man Kyle O’Quinn and guard Courtney Lee to would-be trade suitors. The Knicks are believed to be looking to shed the long-term money owed to both players while returning draft picks for the future.

One player who is not expected to change teams is Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony. While the Knicks would love to move Anthony today, he has made it pretty clear that he is not waiving his no-trade clause.

Sources close to the Anthony situation said he’d be open to a discussion on being traded this off-season when he and his representation can be more involved in the process.

While the trade deadline is always fluid and chaotic process, stay tuned for the deals that get done and reaction to the ones that matter the most.

The Basketball Insiders Trade Deadline Diary is up, and will have all of the trade scuttle we can find in one place, including the deals that get done, the rumors surrounding them and any original insight we come across.

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About Steve Kyler

Steve Kyler

Steve Kyler is the Editor and Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA and basketball for the last 17 seasons.