Paul George is comfortable with early roster tweaks

While it hurts that his teammate, neighbor, and close friend George Hill was traded away, Paul George says he’s comfortable with the initial changes that Pacers President Larry Bird has made to the roster.

“I like the roster,” George said Wednesday on the practice court at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. “Obviously saddened by losing George (Hill] but Larry’s all about trying to improve and make a better team. We’ll see what this team shapes up (to be) at the first day of training camp.”

Paul George answering one of my several questions. [Photo: @Pacers]

Paul George answering one of my several questions. [Photo: @Pacers]

Last month, Bird opted to move on from head coach Frank Vogel after nearly six seasons. He then replaced him with associate head coach Nate McMillan, which allows for continuity and for the other coaches to remain in place.

Then, just before the draft (June 23rd), Bird made two trades within 24 hours. (Neither will be made completed until July for salary cap purposes and thus team officials, including coach McMillan, are not allowed to comment.)

First, the Pacers acquired Pike High School product Jeff Teague from Atlanta in a three-team trade that sent George Hill to Utah. Then, on draft day, Bird traded their first-round pick — No. 20 — for veteran forward Thaddeus Young.

“To one of the best teammates/brother a youngin like me could ask for.. We created a bond you can’t break!! Love you bro,” George wrote about Hill on Instagram last week.

George says he has yet to speak with either Teague or Young.

Four players from last year’s roster are unrestricted free agents, and the Pacers are expected to have between $12 and $19 million to spend in free agency, which commences on July 1.

“I think we’re just continuing on with what coach Frank [Vogel] was pushing for and that’s play uptempo, play a faster style. We got that in one of the quickest point guards (Teague) in the league and one of the most versatile power forwards (Young) in the league. That’s the direction we’re going; I feel comfortable with it.”

[Paul George on being an Olympian: ‘This is a dream of mine’]

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