Paul George's broken right leg in last night's Team USA scrimmage shook the world of basketball. I had just gotten out of theaters after seeing Guardians of the Galaxy when I scrolled through Twitter and saw photos of George's gruesome injury. Just awful...what a heartbreaking moment, especially since it happened in a glorified pick-up game.
But the world keeps turning. George already had surgery, and you bet Larry Bird and the Indiana Pacers' front office will soon work on how they can fill the 24-year-old star's shoes at small forward. In the paltry Eastern Conference, Indiana can certainly compete for a playoff spot without George, and if he's able to return this season and play at a high level, they'd still be in contention to win a championship.
With Shawn Marion as the only serious option on the free agent market, it's possible that Indiana will start calling teams about available players; the Boston Celtics happen to have a player who could fit what they're looking for: Jeff Green.
Green is productive, relatively young, and could be on an expiring contract if he invokes his player option, becoming a free agent in 2015.
The Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett reported in mid-June that if Boston doesn't acquire Kevin Love (which they won't), they could have a taker for Green. If that report is true, you'd think it's an even stronger possibility after they signed Evan Turner.
Now that George's injury has opened up a position in the starting lineup, it'd actually be surprising if Bird doesn't at least inquire about Boston's 27-year-old small forward.
To speculate, Indiana could realistically offer a package revolving around their 2015 first round draft pick, Luis Scola's partially guaranteed contract, and salary filler like Chris Copeland or Ian Mahinmi.
If Indiana sent their first rounder to Boston, it'd probably be somewhere between picks #15 and #22. Considering George is out for most or all of the season, and Lance Stephenson bolted for Charlotte, they may have their struggles, but they're still a playoff team with that core. A top 5 or top 10 pick protection could also be added, just incase it's a disaster season for them.
Losing Green would obviously hurt Boston this year, but it would open up more playing time for Evan Turner, Marcus Thornton, and Chris Johnson. If James Young develops more quickly than expected, he could even receive a chance at some point. Boston would also guarantee themselves more cap room in the summer of 2015, putting themselves in a strong position to make major moves.
Will any transaction between Boston and Indiana occur? No one knows, but the Pacers would be wise to ask about Jeff Green because they shouldn't give up on their season just because of the unfortunate injury to Paul George.
If Indiana comes calling, Boston should listen.