The Cleveland Cavaliers finished the Indiana Pacers off in four games, a result that hardly comes as a surprise. The Pacers could have eased the burden by winning at least one game. This way, they would have at least shown that they can match up with the defending NBA champions.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, and the Pacers fell to the same team that eliminated them in the 2015-16 NBA playoffs. This is despite the efforts of team president Larry Bird to change things a bit. That includes replacing Frank Vogel with Nate McMillan plus the entry of players like Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young, and Al Jefferson.

From afar, that seemed like a credible crew to support Monta Ellis and Paul George. Myles Turner and Lance Stephenson were also waiting in the wings, but somehow there was still a key ingredient missing for the Pacers.

Who stays and who goes?

There are free agents on the Indiana Pacers roster likely to be moving out. All that should take shape in the coming weeks though some have mentioned wanting to stay on.

That includes Jeff Teague, saying he wanted to play for the Pacers all his life. He is set to become a free agent this summer so returning next season could be a possibility. A lot of that depends on what top management decides.

Paul George situation

For quite some time now, Paul George has been mentioned in trade talk linking him to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Pacers previously said that they intend to keep PG13 but on the premise that Bird can prove they can be contenders.

With their recent loss, Bird will need to do more to convince the all-star forward to stay in Indiana. He is under contract for one more season so anything can happen. Bird could instigate a trade or hold on to George until his current contract is up.

Of the two, the latter is a risky one since the Pacers could end up with nothing in return.

Pacers future without PG13

Among the scenarios that Bird may be staring at is a future without Paul George. This means that the NBA legend will have to weigh his options and make a play for players available in the free-agent market this summer.

Chris Paul, Gordon Hayward or even Carmelo Anthony could be targeted, depending on how well they pitch. Like most teams, the Pacers are in for a tough fight to get a player that can blend into the Pacers’ system.

A positive outlook is the Pacers keeping George and hoping that new superstar recruit gives PG13 reason to stay on. A trade may not happen yet this summer, but the scenario could change by the February 2018 deadline.

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