The numbers are eye-popping nonetheless. When George turns 35 (his 15th year in the league) he will be making nearly $49 million. All you have to do is glance at Russell Westbrook and John Wall to see how that kind of deal could backfire on a team quickly. According to a front office source, there was chatter around the league that the Clippers did their due diligence in seeing what they could get on the market for George before deciding that the extension was the best option.
More Rumors in this Storyline
One front office staffer said that, despite the ugly numbers on the back end of George’s deal, the market for George around the league would have likely gotten him that same contract elsewhere. George is a number two that you have to pay number-one-level money.
That same front office member did say they were puzzled by the fact that the Clippers were both doing the extension now and giving George as player-friendly a deal as possible. “I don’t see why you don’t let things play out,” they said. “I can’t imagine he’d be itching to get out of LA next year.” George, for his part, said he wanted the deal done before the season because he’s “a player that don’t play for contracts.”
Of course, the receipt on George can be crumpled and thrown in the trash if it means that it guarantees that Kawhi Leonard will stay a Clipper, too. Kawhi isn’t eligible for an extension until next offseason, when he has the option to become a free agent. As we saw this season, a lot can happen in a year, but multiple front office sources said the timing and intent behind the extension is also a way of showing Kawhi that the franchise is committed to competing with that duo.
And while he said he wouldn’t put “a gun to Kawhi,” George later acknowledged he has a responsibility to make sure Leonard remains a Clipper. “The responsibility is to make him feel like the way I felt when I came into my extension,” George said. “I knew where I wanted to be. I knew who I wanted to play with. That’s my responsibility to go into the season. “Again, it’s Kawhi’s decision. I’m a grown man. If he decides to go elsewhere, that’s a decision that I’ll be happy for him. But my hoping and my responsibility, what I would love, is to play with him for the rest of my contract or the rest of his contract. I guess I have to work on that when it comes to his time.”
Mirjam Swanson: Paul George: “I’m hopeful (Kawhi sticks around long term.) I won’t put words (in his mouth). He’s one of the guys I talked to … not putting a gun to Kawhi and telling him he’s gotta do this and do that, hopefully it’s a mutual bond. We both enjoy playing with one another.”
Ohm Youngmisuk: Paul George: “I was confident in myself and where I wanted to be… I love being here. I love the family that I created in my first year. This is where I want to be…I want to build a real foundation. Ultimately this is where my legacy, I want to leave the biggest imprint on.”
Mirjam Swanson: PG: “My family is the biggest factor in this decision. To stay home, make it easy on my family. This is a childhood dream, being fulfilled. Regardless what this deal was for, this was a priceless deal.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: All-Star forward Paul George has signed a maximum contract extension with the Los Angeles Clippers that’ll guarantee him as much as $226 million over the next five years, his agent Aaron Mintz of @CAA_Basketball tells ESPN.
George could certainly bet on himself by opting out in 2021 and looking to secure a five-year, $220 million contract with the Clippers or four years, $140 million with another team. Expect discussions on an extension this offseason, with no indication yet if the two sides will find a deal that works.
Jon Hamm: Salary cap rules are weird and dumb and confusing at times, so to clear up some confusion: The only way Paul George can sign a 5-year deal this summer is if he re-signs with OKC. If he signs elsewhere or is signed-and-traded, can only sign for up to 4 years.
Bobby Marks: Re: Paul George The most Indiana can offer him this summer in an extension is 4 years/$104m.
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.
Storyline Hype Rumor visits per day for the last week
Views per day
January 20, 2021 | 9:33 pm EST Update
Scott Agness: Pacers lacking firepower, but especially defense — yielding 124+ points for the 4th time in six games. Mavs win 124-112 getting a triple-double from Luka (13-12-12). Brogdon scored 26, Sabonis had 25/10. Lamb scored 10 in his season debut. Up next: v Magic Friday.
Chase Hughes: Bradley Beal said he invited Russell Westbrook to come over to his house to shoot around during the time with no practice. He didn’t indicate whether Westbrook actually came over or not. “I don’t know if we’re allowed to do that.”
Tom Orsborn: More from Kerr on Spurs: “You watch them play and there is no coincidence that they are winning. They are rock solid. They take care of the ball better than anybody in the league. They defend. They have got a lot of good young talent and a nice mix with their veterans.”