Last summer, the Cleveland Cavaliers thought they had a pending trade with the Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets to essentially swap star Kevin Love for Paul George. The deal ultimately fell through, however, as Indiana instead accepted a package of Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis from the Oklahoma City Thunder. At the time, Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert chided Indiana as he declared that they got less for George than what Cleveland had offered. A report by Yahoo! provided most of the information used in this article.

Oladipo heard the comments loud and clear, though Gilbert was more frustrated with Pacers management for pulling out of a trade he thought was a done deal.

Regardless, Oladipo is using the slight for some extra motivation. He starred in Game 1 of the playoffs, outplaying LeBron James along the way to a blowout victory on the road. It was the first time in LeBron's career that he lost a Game 1 of the first round as he leads a very inexperienced group; a far cry from having Kyrie Irving by his side last season.

Fuel to the fire

“You could say it added fuel to the fire, I guess you could say,” Oladipo was quoted after the game when asked about Gilbert's comments at the beginning of the season. A lot has changed since then, including Oladipo transforming Indiana into one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. Oladipo played like a man possessed as he put up 32 points.

Having home court advantage now, the Pacers could put the defending Eastern Conference champions on the ropes with another win in Game 2. In three regular-season matchups, Indiana was 3-0.

Though LeBron remains confident in his ability to make a comeback, the same cannot be said for his teammates, several of whom are making their playoff debuts.

Long live the king

Should Oladipo and the Pacers pull off the unthinkable and knock LeBron James out in the first round, it could have major implications throughout the league. An early round exit would all but end any chance of LeBron re-signing and staying in Cleveland.

The Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers have been rumored as top candidates to lure LeBron away from Cleveland.

Surely, those teams are rooting for Indiana in this series as well.

The league will again go through "The Decision," as teams do everything they can to put themselves in a position to sign James. Several teams made franchise-altering roster moves each of the last two times LeBron truly hit free agency. Most of those teams had to settle for plan B and C as the king can only play for one team.