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Pacers discussed three-team deal with Cavs, Nuggets

(WXIN File photo)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Paul George is still with the Pacers a week after the team began exploring trade options for the four-time NBA All-Star.

ESPN reported on Sunday that Indiana has discussed a three-way deal with Cleveland and Denver that would have sent George to the Cavaliers, Kevin Love to the Nuggets and a package of young players and draft picks to the Pacers.

The report did not indicate which players Denver would have given up, but said potential stars Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray were off-limits in any trade.  Murray was just named to the NBA All-Rookie second team.  Jokic was All-Rookie first team last season.

The Nuggets have two former Indiana Mr. Basketball’s on their roster in Gary Harris and Trey Lyles.  Harris won the award in 2012 after his senior year at Hamilton Southeastern.  Lyles, who Denver just acquired last week on draft night, was honored with the no. 1 jersey after leading Arsenal Tech to the class 4A state championship in 2014.

“We’re not going to make a bad deal,” Pacers’ president Kevin Pritchard said after Thursday’s NBA Draft.  “We want to get what we want and that’s what we’re pursing.  That’s what other teams are pursuing too, so we’re going to do something we feel comfortable with.”

George’s agent, Aaron Mintz informed the Pacers last week that his client would opt out of his contract and leave the team after the upcoming season.

“It was a gut punch,” Pritchard said about George’s decision.  “It was a total gut punch, because we had many conversations over the summer on players we’d like to add and a style we’d like to play.  The message up until this weekend was let’s build a winner.”

The next major date in the NBA off-season is Saturday when teams can begin reaching verbal agreements with free agents.