Pacers GM: Paul George telling us he’s leaving was a ‘gut punch’

Posted: 27/06/2017 in NBA, Sports
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The 2017 NBA Draft has ended, and Paul George is still a member of the Indiana Pacers after reported talks with the Boston Celtics stalled.

General manager Kevin Pritchard spoke out for the first time since the All-Star’s agent informed the team he’ll leave after next season.

“For me, it was a gut punch. It was a total gut punch,” Pritchard told reporters Thursday night.

The executive indicated he’s in no hurry to trade away the Pacers’ best player, and George could still be on the roster when training camp rolls around. Should that happen, he’d face constant trade rumors, but would only have himself to blame.

“It’s not ideal, but we didn’t put ourselves in it. He did,” said Pritchard, who was promoted to president of basketball operations after Larry Bird stepped down last month.

The executive admitted the news of George’s impending departure came as a surprise because the two recently discussed players the All-Star swingman would like to surround himself with in Indiana.

“Paul is a special player,” Pritchard said. “He’s been good for this organization. We felt like, in a few of the talks over the summer, that he wanted to win, that he wanted to win here. So it was a little bit of a gut punch for us. We’re adjusting right now, and at the end of the day, we want to build a winning team and we want players who want to be here.”

Pritchard also revealed there are plenty of offers on the table, including some that would send an All-Star-caliber player back his way. He’s filtering through them and plans to choose the one he deems best for the club, whether it helps them win now or in the future.

The 49-year-old disagreed with the notion that the Pacers will get pennies on the dollar for PG-13, suggesting instead that other clubs are becoming even more aggressive with their offers.

George averaged 23.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.6 steals on 46.1 percent shooting in his seventh campaign in Indy.

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