Pacers' decision to keep Paul George looms large for Lakers, Celtics


USA TODAY Sports’ AJ Neuharth-Keusch breaks down the story lines following a slow NBA trade deadline.

Paul George stayed put on Thursday, when Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird decided against trading his 26-year-old star, and NBA fanbases from Boston to Los Angeles surely reached for the antidepressants when the deadline passed.

This was the kind of blockbuster move that would have changed the balance of power in the Eastern Conference, where the Celtics wanted to pair George with fellow All-Star Isaiah Thomas and come full force at the Cleveland Cavaliers. It could have ramped up the rebuild for the Lakers and their new top front office boss, Magic Johnson, who knows full well that George – a Palmdale, Calif. native and lifelong Lakers fan – is determined to sign there as a free agent in the summer of 2018 if the Pacers can’t find a way to contend for a title again. Add in the fact that George was clearly displeased with how the deadline…

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