Funny thing about bombshells. Sometimes you drop 'em and they don't go off.
Sometimes you drop 'em and they just go poof, because they're not really bombshells, they're common knowledge dressed as bombshells. The metaphoric newsboy shouting "Extra, extra, read all about it!" loses his voice because we've already read all about it.
As in, "Extra, extra, existence of gravity confirmed!"
As in, "Extra, extra, dog eats child's homework!"
As in, "Extra, extra, Paul George decides to ditch Pacers!"
Because, come on, we all knew that was coming.
We all knew George was going to play out his deal and head elsewhere, preferably the Lakers because that's basically his hometown team. He wasn't popping up on the late-night shows out on the West Coast by accident, after all. And, really, what's he got to stay in Indianapolis for at this point, even if the Pacers were prepared to throw a significant pile of dough at him? The shrimp cocktail at St. Elmo's?
You can wish he'd stick around and be the centerpiece around which the Pacers build a contender, but he's already been there and done that in Indy. The Pacers did build a contender, but, like so much else in professional sports, it didn't last. For a myriad of reasons and circumstance -- not all of which was within the Pacers' control, because it never is -- they dismantled it. Or it got dismantled. Either way, it works out the same.
Which is, at the same time the Pacers were erasing the blackboard and starting over (or sort of starting over), George was emerging as a perennial All-Star and one of the game's most attractive two-way players. Last season he averaged 23.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.6 steals to help drag the Pacers into the playoffs; then, in the first-round loss to the Cavaliers, he stepped up his game the way superstars are supposed to, averaging 28 points, 8.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 1.8 steals.
And now he's going to leave for brighter lights, because that's what players in his position do. You can be angry at him for the timing of his announcement -- days before the NBA draft -- but not for the announcement itself.
Because, again, you knew it was coming. And because it's the way of things not just now but forever.
The talking heads can sound all the alarms they want about the NBA becoming a league where the superstars all gravitate to the big markets and most successful franchises, but in a sense that's always been the case. And it's not like there aren't stars in other markets just like there's always been.
Russell Westbrook is still in Oklahoma City. Anthony Davis is still in New Orleans. Bradley Beal and John Wall are still with the Wizards, Gordon Hayward's still with the Jazz, Damian Lillard's still with the Trail Blazers.
Sure, they may not be there forever. But that's been true since the advent of free agency. And when they go, other rising stars will emerge to take their place. Thus has it ever been.
Paul George dumping Indy for wherever?
No worries. The next Paul George is coming.