A month ago, Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird spent the trade deadline evaluating and eventually swatting away multiple trade offers for star wing Paul George.
According to Liberty Ballers, multiple sources described Philly's offer as "significant," consisting of three-and-D wing Robert Covington, one of two big men—Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel, who got shipped to the Dallas Mavericks—and two first-round draft picks.
The Sixers reportedly preferred to keep their own draft picks and instead deal from their chest of picks they've collected in trades. More specifically, they offered the Los Angeles Lakers' first-round pick in 2017, which is top-three protected this year but unprotected next year, and the right to swap picks with the Sacramento Kings in 2017, top-10 protected.
By comparison, the Celtics reportedly offered the Brooklyn Nets' first overall pick in 2017 and three of four players: Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Jae Crowder.
Sources: Pacers asking for 3 of 4 from group of Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, and Jaylen Brown + 2017 Nets pick for Paul George.
— Mike Ortiz Jr. (@xOrtiz4x) February 23, 2017
By dealing other teams' picks instead of their own, the 76ers would have protected themselves against the very real prospect of George's leaving in free agency in 2018.
After the deadline, it was reported that George was "hell-bent" on signing with his hometown Lakers if Indy weren't a contender by the time he hit free agency. Still, sources told Liberty Ballers that the Sixers were confident the young core of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons could convince the four-time All-Star to stay in Philadelphia.