Michael Lee dropped by CBS Sports Radio just hours before Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline, and The Vertical NBA insider does not expect any of the game’s biggest stars to get moved.
Lee was asked which player – Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Carmelo Anthony or Andre Drummond – is most likely to get traded.
“That’s a tough one,” Lee said on Tiki and Tierney. “It sounds like Jimmy Butler and the Bulls are kind of backing off trying to move him. With Paul George, the same. They would need to be completely blown away by a deal. But I think really, if you ask me which team probably needs to make a move, I would think it’s Indiana. Paul hasn’t really given an indication that he wants to stick around long-term, and you already have a pretty solid building block in Myles Turner that you could probably start moving forward with.”
Turner, 20, is averaging 15.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.1 blocks for the Pacers (29-28)
“Right now, you have Paul George and you’re not doing that much better than if you don’t have him,” Lee said. “So if I were to make a move, I would probably be Larry Bird thinking about moving on from Paul George. But I don’t know if any of those guys are actually going to be moved. . . . I don’t know if anybody is that desperate to just give away the farm to get a guy, no matter how good he is. You can see what New Orleans had to give up for Boogie Cousins. I think a lot of teams want deals like that now. I don’t think anybody wants to sell the farm.”
George, 26, is one of the best two-way players in basketball. He is averaging 22.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists, but he’s not a free agent until 2018. So if Bird feels pressure to move George today, he shouldn’t.
“He’s still under contract for another year,” Lee said. “That’s what made the Carmelo deal (from Denver to New York) so bad. He had absolutely no leverage to force that kind of trade, and I can’t believe (James) Dolan was that desperate. It looks silly. I think if you ask Carmelo and you go back on all the things that he’s done, mistakes that he’s made, I bet if you could ask him if he could do it over again if he would have just waited for free agency to go to New York and had all those players there, the Knicks would have been so much better and his reputation would have be so much different if he actually had players that could help him when he got there.”