The Pacers are in a rough spot with Paul George. He informed them he in 2018 and that his preferred destination is the Lakers. He has left Indiana without much leverage in trade talks, because the Lakers can just wait on George to become a free agent and acquire him then.
One way Indiana can gain leverage is by giving up George for a rental. According to The Vertical, they’ve already begun looking into that process by exploring George trade options. So far, the Lakers have not been included in their discussions.
In a Warriors dominated world it’s hard to see which teams are willing to give up assets to maybe become a contender, but there’s a short list that could take the risk. The Cavaliers, Spurs and Celtics are all teams looking for that extra boost to push them past Golden State in the NBA Finals. The Vertical has even said contact with Cleveland has been made.
The Indy Star’s Nate Taylor later confirmed that the Pacers have had preliminary talks with the Cavs.
This is exactly what Indiana needs to be doing. Go out and look for rentals that can give a better return than. This helps them gain leverage in trade discussions, because it creates the threat of George going somewhere besides Los Angeles. That helps raise his trade value and net a better return.