The clock is ticking for the Indiana Pacers if they hope to maximize their return in a blockbuster Paul George trade.
The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski joined Thursday's episode of "The Herd", and both Wojnarowski and Cowherd explained why the Pacers will only be hurting themselves by holding on to George.
Why the Lakers' odds of landing Paul George have improved over the past 24 hours
Colin Cowherd: “Let’s start with Paul George. Brian Windhorst reports that [the Cavs are] not getting interest for Kevin Love.
"So does that make me believe that Paul George to the Lakers, the Lakers now - in the last 24 hours - have a little leverage with Paul George if he doesn’t go to Cleveland?”
Adrian Wojnarowski: “I do think the Lakers’ chances have improved over the last 24, 36 hours, because my sense is that Indiana doesn’t have deals that they absolutely love. I think they’re hoping that the deal that they do between now and the draft - if they do a deal between now and the draft - hasn’t shown up yet.
"I think they’re going through what they have right now. I think they’d like better. Usually you always went better, but they really need to get maximum value for Paul George. You just … a player of that caliber, you just have to get every asset back you can. And now teams are unwilling, in large part, to give up young players or multiple draft picks, good draft picks, for a player they all feel is almost assuredly going to be a rental and then leave for L.A. at the end of the season.”
Brian SpurlockBrian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Adrian Wojnarowski on Kevin Love’s status in Cleveland:
“And you mentioned Kevin Love … that, I think, is making the process for Jimmy Butler, for Paul George, more difficult for the Cavaliers.
"Kevin Love’s value is not what it was when he came to Cleveland three years ago.
"The league’s changed a little bit around him, too. While there is - listen, there’s interest, teams would love to have him. I think Phoenix would love to have Kevin Love, they were interested in him in the past. But Phoenix isn’t giving up the fourth overall pick anymore for Kevin Love. They might have done that a few years ago, but not now.”
Kelley L CoxKelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Why Indiana needs to try to trade Paul George immediately
Colin Cowherd: "It is interesting, though, because in the history of this league - Boogie Cousins-Sacramento, Orlando-Dwight Howard - the longer you wait as a general manager, you can lose leverage here.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: “Well, especially in this Paul George situation, because every period with which Indiana waits … so if they don’t do it by the draft, they’re going to probably lose a little bit going into free agency. And if they wait for the season to start, if they want to do it during the year … well, every game he plays in Indiana is one less game he’ll be playing somewhere else, and teams are going to give up less.
"I think their chance to get the best possible deal is today - but there has to be kind of a moment of truth in Indiana where they say, ‘Well, this might be the best we can do. We’re going to have to swallow heart and trade him.’
"Or they may just be a little more defiant than that and say, ‘We think we can be creative, find a way and hold on to him longer.’But I do think there’s pretty strong motivation, Colin, within the Pacers to try to get something done before tonight’s draft or during tonight’s draft.”
Anthony GruppusoAnthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Why the Lakers can afford to wait on Paul George
Colin Cowherd: “Well, Houston has some players they’d part with, and I think that they have the best players, potentially, but they only have two second-round picks. The Lakers don’t have great talent, but they have two late-first round picks.
"Someone asked me ‘Would you give up the second pick to get Paul George?’ and I said, ‘No, I wouldn’t.’ I like Lonzo Ball that much, and here’s the other thing that matters. L.A. is different. It’s a crowded sports market. Lonzo is commerce and good basketball. Paul George is good basketball.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: “The other thing, too, is that you have a player who has expressed that he wants to come play for you in free agency, who is going to be a free agent next summer. You’re not giving away the No. 2 overall pick or Brandon Ingram.
"Now, if the Lakers would give up either No. 2 or Brandon Ingram, they would have already called this deal into the league office. And so, they’re not [willing to give that up].
"You mentioned they’ve got the picks now at 27 and 28. Those are late picks. That might be the best they can do. Maybe, at the end of the day, they do have to do that deal in Indiana, but they’re not going to jump at that one. That one’s … you sort of know you have in the bank and you do it later.
"Indiana’s got to decide [on] Julius Randle. If we were to take him on, he’ll be up for his rookie extension this year, do we want to invest $70 [million], $80 million in him? They might, but at the same time, I think they want more for a player like Paul George…. What they started out doing was looking for packages like Denver got for Carmelo Anthony, like Utah got for Deron Williams. And that’s not out there for a player now who teams expect is going to be a rental.”
Jesse JohnsonJesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Wojnarowski on how Utah is making a last-ditch effort to bring back Gordon Hayward:
Colin Cowherd: “Do you see the possibility of a big trade tonight?”
Adrian Wojnarowski: “There’s always the possibility of it, but at the same time, they’re hard to put together. Whether it’s Jimmy Butler in Chicago, Paul George, and others that may present themselves.
"What I do know is there is a tremendous amount of activity. Utah is a team right now that’s being very aggressive. They want to be able to put some more pieces together to show Gordon Hayward before they get to July 1. I think the Jazz are not afraid to re-shape this roster in some ways, even at the point guard position - because George Hill is an unrestricted free agent. I think the Jazz are being very aggressive right now to maybe make some alterations to their roster that they feel will help sell a contract extension a little bit better to Gordon Hayward. They’re very much in a death-grip fight with Boston and Miami for him come free agency.”
Chris NicollChris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
Wojnarowski on how Phil Jackson has mishandled the Kristaps Porzingis situation"
Colin Cowherd: “Regardless of how you think of Phil Jackson, Porzingis is a good player. Had some injury issues, not a great defender, but he’s a player. And Boston has a lot of picks - I mean, a surplus of picks. At some point, they can’t have all these picks.
"How surprised are you … wouldn’t you think [the Celtics] would be a little more aggressive if Porzingis is out there?”
Adrian Wojnarowski: “As an organization, they’ve always been intrigued by him. I’ve been told they haven’t fully engaged on that yet. A lot of teams are calling New York on Porzingis.
"I think he’s a unique talent. I think he is a special player. I think that people who thought he took a little bit of a step back, I would say listen … there were some nagging injuries this year, but environment really dictated that. That was a toxic, bad environment. As bad as there is in the league. The way people used to talk about the Kings, the Knicks deserve that now. It’s the kind of place nobody wants to send their players right now.
"And here you have one of the best - I would say the three best players in the world under 25 years old [are] Karl-Anthony Towns, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kristaps Porzingis. And you have him in New York, in a league where no top players want to come to New York. You have one, he wants to be there. What Phil Jackson’s doing, even if he doesn’t trade Porzingis here, there’s a tremendous fracture in the relationship between them.
"They need this kid on their side. They need this kid leading them and taking them through their rebuild. They’ve done such damage to this partnership with Porzingis, who wants nothing more than to stay in New York and find a way to win in New York. He just wants a functional environment, and he doesn’t have that. And I don’t think it’s outrageous that he’s demanding it, that he’s yearning for it.”
Brad PennerBrad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Why Josh Jackson could be the best pick of the draft
Colin Cowherd: “I said immediately when the season ended ‘I think Josh Jackson’s the best player.’ Of all the players I’ve watched…”
Adrian Wojnarowski: “There are many executives in the league who agree with you on that. There are many who do.”
Colin Cowherd: “So he could fall to four?”
Adrian Wojnarowski: “He could. And I think there are teams trying to be aggressive to get up there to get at him. Some teams I think just don’t have the assets.
"There’s some GMs I really respect in this league who don’t really have the assets to go up to four, but if you gave them their choice they’d want Josh Jackson.
"He’s hard-playing, guy plays with an edge. Tremendous competitor, and that really attracts people to him beyond his skill.”