Bobby Marks: Re: Paul George The most Indiana can offer him this summer in an extension is 4 years/$104m.
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The NBA announced on Thursday that the Indiana Pacers small forward did not make any of the All-NBA teams that are voted on by media members, thereby eliminating the possibility that he could be given a five-year, $207 million supermax extension this summer that could have kept him from skipping town. Except for one thing: George, who could have done that deal anytime between July 6 to the start of the regular season if he had qualified, wasn’t likely going to sign that deal right away anyways.
Had George been selected to an All-NBA team, and had the Pacers made it clear right away that the super-max check would be coming his way, George still planned on taking the patient and prudent road here. Wait to see if the Pacers could re-sign point guard Jeff Teague in free agency before even thinking about signing that dotted line.
By all accounts, Bird’s decision to step aside has no impact on how George sees the Pacers situation. He has the utmost respect for Larry Legend, who was known to be looking to spend more time with his wife and family and will now serve as a consultant for the organization. But he knows that Pritchard is a widely respected front office talent too, having worked wonders as the lead basketball executive with the Portland Trailblazers before joining Bird in July of 2011.
Because of the newly created Designated Player Exception, which relies on players making, among other things, one of the three all-NBA teams to qualify, decisions about whether players — such as Indiana Pacers star Paul George, for example — will be willing to remain with their current team or be open to being traded elsewhere could be based upon whether a player is voted on to one of the teams.
What are thoughts on Paul George’s performance this season and his future with the team? Herb Simon: This guy has taken over the team and pulled us up. I think very highly of him. I think he was incredibly personable at our breakfast in New Orleans during the All-Star weekend. He was very open. He wants to be a champion. He wants a winning team and it’s our job to get him one.
Was there any real consideration in trading George before the deadline in February? Herb Simon: Basically, we were offered a lot of things. We didn’t even think of taking any of them. (President) Larry (Bird) will give you a better feel for it, but the answer is you can’t stop people from making offers. But it wasn’t any question of accepting any of them.
Asked about the estimated $219 million contract extension that Pacers president Larry Bird is poised to offer him in July, George told Marc Stein on ESPN Radio’s Meet The All-Stars: “As I told Larry, I always want to play on a winning team. I always want to be part of a team that has a chance to win it [all]. That’s important. Say what you want; I want to compete for something. It’s frustrating just playing the game for stats or for numbers or to showcase yourself. Man, I want a chance to play for a chance to win a championship. I wanted to be the first and want to be the first to be able to bring a championship to Indiana. So that’s still on my mind … and something I definitely want to achieve in Indiana.”
Bird: “I don’t want to get into Paul’s free agency. Before the year started, I told Paul and I said, ‘Look, if you want to sign a long-term deal, we’re willing to do that max (contract) and if you want to wait, I understand.’ But this year, we’re not going to worry about it, we’re not going to talk about it and he’s going to make the decision that’s best for Paul when it comes down to it.”
Do you see any changes in the new collective bargaining agreement having any impact on George’s free agency or is your position still the same in terms of offering him the max, whether it’s five years or six years? Bird: “Yeah, we want to keep him here long term. That’s the plan.”
Sources close to the situation say Indiana remains optimistic that the new Designated Player Exception will allow them to retain George long-term, assuming he makes one of the All-NBA teams this season.
Marc Stein: Larry Bird has been very open about “We’d like to sign Paul George to an extension” and without outright saying it there is nothing going on there. Paul George has kind of made it clear that he’s really not interested in an extension.
Nate Taylor: Spoke with Larry Bird this morning. He said Paul George is a max contract player.
Teague is eligible to have his contract re-negotiated, much like the Oklahoma City Thunder did with Russell Westbrook and the Houston Rockets did with James Harden. The issue there is that Paul George also becomes re-structure eligible on September 25. The Pacers are sitting on about $6 million in cap space – enough to get George to the current NBA max, but not enough to also sign Teague to a new deal. Unless the Pacers opt to dump a contract and create more room, re-structuring Teague’s deal does not seem to be in the cards, which means a stroll through unrestricted free agency for the point guard and a ton of risk for Indiana.
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February 21, 2018 | 9:00 am EST Update
Polk said it’s a “concern” Walker will likely have to reach unrestricted free-agency before he could be re-signed, but that’s a function of the rules. “We love Kemba Walker,” Polk said. “We would like nothing more than for Kemba to end his career here.”
It took years to fully recover from the injury and he wasn’t cleared to play again until May 2017. The rehabilitation process tested him both mentally and physically, but he found a way to reach his goal. “It was essentially a four-year process,” Okafor said. “I just took my time making sure, not only the initial injury (was healed), but to recondition and rehab everything. … (I) figured while I’m waiting for my disc to heal, I can take the time to heal other things. When I come back, (I can) feel nice and bouncy and rejuvenated.”
Charlotte Hornets rookie Malik Monk missed a portion of Tuesday’s practice, while being examined following a car accident in Arkansas over All-Star break. Monk suffered from upper-body soreness when he arrived for Tuesday’s late-afternoon practice, so a team doctor checked him out. Monk returned to practice at Spectrum Center in time to put up some jump shots after most of the other players left the practice court. “They just had to make sure he was OK,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “He wasn’t able to practice today, but he says he feels better. He’s just stiff. So, we’ll just see tomorrow how he feels and where he is at.”
Asked if he anticipates Steve Clifford, who has a season remaining on his contract, being the coach here next season, Polk responded, “I would today.” Like each of Clifford’s previous four seasons, he and his staff will be evaluated in the spring. “Once we get a new general manager on board, we’ll talk about the coaching staff,” Polk said. “Steve has brought a lot of strong organization” to the franchise, Polk said, adding Clifford’s health crisis (a six-week leave to address severe headaches) concerned everyone in management.
February 21, 2018 | 5:07 am EST Update
“He’s not [coming back to Miami]. But the fact when ESPN polled 48 players about what they thought might happen with LeBron that they even mentioned the Heat shows that, at worst, the Heat remain relevant in players’ consciousness,” Winderman wrote. “Basically, the NBA players polled still consider the Heat a desirable landing spot. And that is a good thing. But I cannot fathom, as you pointed out, the Heat having enough on their roster to attract such a level of free agent. There was a time when I thought Hassan Whiteside could have been such a lure, but with his role minimized, I don’t see that as the case anymore.”