BOSTON — The Celtics are still in the hunt for Paul George, and they may be in the best position to get the Indiana star.

Begin with the fact that dealing for a guy with one year left on his contract and who has said through his agent that he will leave the Pacers as a free agent after the 2017-18 season – with all signs pointing to him joining his semi-hometown Lakers – is, at best, a gamble.

But the Celtics have more chips than anyone else and thus are better equipped to play a little poker. Their hope would be that if they could get the All-Star forward here for a season, the quality and togetherness of the team around him and the way the club is supported – something that deeply impressed the Clippers Blake Griffin when he saw the outpouring for Paul Pierce’s last visit as a player to the Garden – would make him want to stay.

But when it comes to dealing first-round draft picks in a package for George, the concept of gambling also comes into play.

Consider this: if you make all the picks, what’s the likelihood they all pan out? The Celtics have had their share of botched first-rounders, though, granted, most of them were of the non-lottery variety.

Surely the Celtics have a chart somewhere that approximates the value of each pick in a given draft and the possibility for a player taken at that position to become a star.

But in the case of George, they would be getting a proven All-Star with leadership qualities who might enjoy playing for a coach like Brad Stevens and with a group of teammates who play with a high level of maturity.

But it will all come down to cost and what Indiana expects in return for a player whose proclamations now and at last February’s trade deadline, when he said he would either play for Indiana or leave for the Lakers, severely cut his value in the marketplace.

Teams backed away a few months ago, but now that George has said he’s leaving Indy, the asking price cannot be as high. Teams know the Pacers have to get something for him before he walks.

While other clubs will be looking for a bargain, the question is not whether the Celtics will overpay for a guy who can leave in a year. The question is by how much, and only Danny Ainge and staff and their value chart know the answer to that.

The funny thing is a deal for George would be easy were it not for collective bargaining rules. While teams can put contingencies on draft picks that are traded, they cannot do the same based on a player’s actions or decisions.

The Celtics would love to be able to put a couple of large conditions on a deal – something along the lines of we’ll give you X if he leaves us at the end of the 2017-18 season, and we’ll give you X plus Y and Z if he stays with the club beyond the year.

For now, however, we’re left to wait and see which team will make the best bet on George. And it looks as though we could be waiting a while.

Pacers head of basketball ops Kevin Pritchard says he’s going to be patient as he looks for the right deal, and the Celtics, even if they can reach an agreement in principle with Indiana, will want to see what they can do in their free agent quest for Gordon Hayward before executing a move for George or anyone else. As the Celtics try to maneuver their salary cap situation, they pretty much have to do things in that order.

Speaking of gambles, it wasn’t the fact that Josh Jackson wouldn’t work out for the Celtics that likely scared them off.

“The kid blew us off in a workout, but I don’t believe Josh Jackson did that,” Ainge said. “I believe there’s people around him that made those decisions. But I really enjoy watching him play, and I really enjoy what he’s about.”

Ainge may have confidence in Jackson’s ability to develop into a shooter, but as a coach from another team put it, there’s a significant risk involved.

“In today’s game, if you can’t shoot, you ruin your team’s offense,” he said. “If the opponent doesn’t really have to worry about you, it changes the spacing on the floor.

“That’s what happened with Kris Dunn and that’s why Minnesota was so willing to trade a guy they’d coveted a year ago.”

Dunn shot 37.7 percent from the floor (28.8 percent on 3-pointers).

When it was pointed out that Marcus Smart was 35.9 and 28.3 percent, respectively, last season, the coach replied, “Yeah, but that guy can be streaky. And if you don’t stay up on him, he’ll get going downhill and wind up at the line or laying the ball down for an easy 2 for someone else.”

By the way, George averaged 23.7 points on 46.1 percent shooting last season. He averaged 28 points in four single-digit losses to Cleveland in the playoffs.