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Rockets Didn’t Have Pieces To Land Paul George

The Pacers put a bargain basement price on the all-star forward but Houston didn’t have the pieces.

NBA: Playoffs-Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers gave up by trading all-star forward Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. The trade included no picks or cash.

It’s a comically low price for a two-way talent of George’s caliber, but at the end of the day Houston didn’t have the pieces Indiana appears to have been seeking.

A rumored proposal had the Rockets sending Eric Gordon to Indiana for George, but it wasn’t enough to get a deal done.

In the end Indiana appears to have been seeking younger players with potential upside. Domantas Sabonis isn’t a future all-star, but he was calm under pressure over 66 starts and can become a legitimate stretch four in a league dying for them.

Oladipo is as eyebrown raising as it comes in trade discussions. He’s got $80 million left on his contract and continues to fall short of expectations after being the #2 pick. He’s proven the ability to be a rotation player in the NBA, but hasn’t been able to take the next step.

Trading for Oladipo requires a general manager to cross their arms, close their eyes and repeatedly say ‘he hasn’t reached his ceiling because he hasn’t been put in a position to succeed.’

It’s a ridiculous exercise. But if a general manager sells themselves on that narrative it’s one the Rockets can’t match. Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson have both certainly reached their career ceilings. So a team looking to acquire pieces with untapped upside don’t have much to look at on a trade-depleted Rockets roster.

The only piece Houston has which hasn’t reached the visible horizon of their talents is Clint Capela. But Indiana already has a big man of the future in Myles Turner and Capela’s offensive skills require a functioning offense, which Indiana may no longer have.

So the Rockets missed out on the all-star forward. They just didn’t have the meager pieces necessary to capture Indiana’s attention. And at the end of the 2017 - 2018 season it’s likely Oklahoma City will learn it doesn’t have the narrative or pieces to keep George around.