What if Pacers had waited for Hayward's decision?

With Gordon Hayward agreeing to join the Boston Celtics earlier this week, we are now left wondering what if Danny Ainge successfully pulled off a trade for Paul George to pair with his new superstar? And more to the point, we are left to wonder what if the Indiana Pacers had just waited for Boston to officially make their move?

The Celtics interest in George has long been known, and numerous reports last week implied Ainge was just waiting for Hayward’s signature before calling the Pacers with an appealing offer for George. Two first round picks and two starters, most likely Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley, is probably what would have been on the table for Kevin Pritchard. As luck would have it, however, Indiana got an itchy finger and pulled the trigger on a deal from Oklahoma City for their coveted All-Star.

That deal wasn’t a very good one. Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis are young, and the latter has potential to be a good player, but with a lack of picks and Oladipo’s continued regression, the Pacers would have been much better off waiting around for Ainge to come calling.

Maybe they wanted to keep George out of their conference or they valued players over picks. Some believe that Indiana want to go down the Dallas Mavericks route of tapping into untapped potential of young players that have yet to settle into the league during the length of their rookie contract. Whatever the reason, there aren’t many neutrals who viewed the trade as a win for Pritchard.

Boston would have certainly been hungry to make their move for George if they had received a verbal agreement from Hayward. But, unfortunately, Indiana had already made theirs and Ainge will have to go looking elsewhere for the final piece of his ‘Big Four’ puzzle.

Credit to Joe Robbins/ Getty Images (top) & Getty Images (bottom) for the photos