Paul George is a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Kevin Love is (still) a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. And Gary Harris is (still) a member of the Denver Nuggets. But all that could have been different had a three-team trade between the Nuggets, Cavs and Pacers not been nixed by Indiana general manager Kevin Pritchard at the final hour.
According to reporting from ESPN, the three teams tentatively agreed on a conference call on June 30 to a deal that would send George to the Cavaliers, Love to the Nuggets, and Gary Harris -- along with other pieces -- to the Pacers. But Pritchard, who was reportedly on the conference call and tentatively agreed to the deal initially, sent word that the Pacers were backing out just before a call between George and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert was set to happen to formalize the trade that would have been all but final.
Here's the full details from the ESPN report on Sunday.
On the afternoon of June 30, the sides thought they had a deal. On a conference call between the teams, everyone tentatively agreed. George to the Cavs, Love to the Nuggets, Harris and other pieces to the Pacers, sources said.
Plans were put in place for a call to be arranged between George and Gilbert, an important step before the trade would become final, sources said. The front office began making other plans to complement George as free agency was about to begin.
But then Pritchard, who had been on the conference call when the deal was tentatively agreed to, sent the message that his team was backing out, sources said. There was no deal.
The teams tried to save it, but shortly thereafter, news broke that George was being traded to Oklahoma City. Pritchard might have had many reasons for changing his mind, including not wanting to trade George to a division rival. In the end, all that mattered was George was no longer an option for the Cavs.
According to the report, the trade was so close to becoming official that the Cavaliers side began to celebrate the blockbuster acquisition of George, who was eventually swept up by the OKC Thunder before the teams involved were given a chance to save the deal.
In the days since the trade fell through to acquire George, the Cavaliers have made minor splashes -- adding Jose Calderon and Jeff Green, and re-upping with Kyle Korver. After falling to the mighty Golden State Warriors 4-1 in the NBA Finals, none of those moves will likely bolster their title odds for next season like the addition of George would have.
Now, with All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving and showing his displeasure with playing second fiddle to LeBron James, it's fair to wonder if the three-team trade that fell through in the final hour could be a moment that lives in infamy with the Cavs franchise forever.