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Larry Bird on Paul George’s potential offers: ‘We’re going to match’

Jul 18, 2013, 4:23 PM EDT

Paul George, LeBron James

Paul George will be a free agent, but a restricted free agent, next summer. So, even if he wanted to leave Indiana for, I dunno, maybe the Lakers, the Pacers would have the right to match any offer.

George is well on his way to becoming a max-contract player, and if the Pacers believe he’s worth that much money, they won’t lose him.

“We’re trying to sign Paul,” Larry Bird told 1070 The Fan, Indianapolis. “It’s not as easy as it looks. We’re going to make a major offer to him. It’s going to be up to him whether he accept or not or goes out into the free-agency market. If he does, we’re going to match. But we’d like to get something done. We know he wants to be here. He’s a great kid. He’s one of the nicest young men you’ll ever meet, and he’s a good player. And we think we should take care of him.”

The Pacers could extend George’s contract before Oct. 31, and that would allow them to sign him for five additional years. If George makes an All-NBA first, second or third team this season, he’d even be eligible for a larger extension. Because Indiana and George won’t know whether that will happen before Oct. 31, they can negotiate contingencies in the event it does.

In short, if the Pacers are serious about paying George, they could offer him more guaranteed money before the season begins than any other team could offer next summer. If George becomes a free agent in 2014, the Pacers can match any offer he’ll receive.

Either way, it’s an extreme longshot George finds his way out of Indiana anytime soon.

  1. money2long - Jul 18, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    file this under : duh

    • therealhtj - Jul 19, 2013 at 2:18 PM

      Hey if they offered him a full max deal (25% or 30% of the cap for 5 years starting between $15-18 mil), it’d probably be signed already. They’re trying to lock him up for less, which’ll breed animosity, he’ll become a RFA next summer, say his heart is in XYZ city (LA most likely), and 99.99% the Pacers will match.

      The real problem is, George is nice. Probably a several time all-star if he stays healthy. But is he a franchise changer? He gets a fat contract like that, he can be the kind of franchise changer that gets GM’s fired.

  2. sportsfan18 - Jul 18, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    I really like Larry Bird, I grew up in Indiana and I went to IU, but he is making a mistake by saying this to the public.

    George might want to stay, but you just know his agents heard Bird.

    Do you know what his agents will say to George? It will be something like this.

    Hey, Mr. Bird just said he’ll match any offer. Don’t sing what they will offer you as it will be a lot, but not quite a max contract. Some other team will offer you a max and then you may sign the max contract that the Pacers offer you when they match.

    Now, could the Pacers decide not to match a year from now? Of course, but the agent wants more money and he is going to try and sell something similar here.

    I hope it doesn’t come to this and the Pacers and George work something out long term for like $12 million a year for 4 yrs.

    • nikedunks13 - Jul 18, 2013 at 6:04 PM

      He didn’t make a mistake by saying this. If George wants a max contract he will get one, if he wants to take a little less so the pacers have more money to spend on other talent, then he will. What Bird said doesn’t change anything. George and his agent both already knew that the Pacers would match any offer

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 18, 2013 at 6:49 PM

        And Mr. Bird’s words were “We’re trying to sign Paul,” Larry Bird told 1070 The Fan, Indianapolis. “It’s not as easy as it looks. We’re going to make a major offer to him. It’s going to be up to him whether he accept or not or goes out into the free-agency market.”

        Trying to sign Paul? We’re going to make a major offer to him?

        It sounds like they are going to offer him a big contract, but not quite the max. Now Paul and his agent know this.

        I think that if there was a chance that Paul would have accepted a slightly lower than max deal, it’s gone now as Mr. Bird has said he’ll match any offer.

        Mr. Bird doesn’t sound like he’s offering a max contract right now based on his own words to 1070 The Fan in Indy, but due to his other words, stating that they will match, he’ll now have to offer him a max contract.

      • casualcommenter - Jul 18, 2013 at 8:19 PM

        You’re correct.

        Nobody needed to hear Larry Bird to say “We’re going to keep Paul George,” to know that the Indiana Pacers were going to prioritize keeping Paul George.

        Not sure what “sportsfan18” is getting at. He seems to be the only one who thinks Bird said something significant/earth-shattering.

      • davidly - Jul 19, 2013 at 2:01 AM

        @sportsfan18: owners and GMs and agents and players all know what the deal is. Bird isn’t tipping his hand by saying they’d match if they cannot extend. Everyone knows that if George is an all-star again this year that someone will offer him a max deal. That’s just the way it is. By saying they’ll match, Bird is telling George indirectly how much he means as a player and, with his additional words, a human.

        Players also know that a lot can happen between Halloween and graduation day that would affect a their financial viability and job security. If George really likes it in Indiana, he’ll sign a deal before then. If not, he’ll roll the dice and likely bolt.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 19, 2013 at 5:42 AM


        Thanks for you points and your explanation. I agree with you that they all know what is up and how it works.

        But I read Mr. Bird’s words to mean that they are trying to sign him to an extension now, not after this coming season.

        And Mr. Bird said it would be a “major offer” to him. He did not say it would be a max offer.

        That is why he said “we are trying to sign Paul”. He did NOT say we will try to sign Paul meaning next summer. His words were “we are trying to sign Paul”.

        Telling him now, a year before he may begin receiving offers from others is different than simply saying we really like him and want him to remain a Pacer. By telling Paul and his agent that they WILL match offers, they have now told Paul and his agent that they will give him a max offer and it’s fairly well known that someone will offer him a max deal next summer.

        Based on what everyone else is saying on here, I guess I’m reading Mr.Birds words wrong.

        Again, thanks for your input and thoughts on this though.

    • tcclark - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:32 PM

      All he did was scare other teams away from signing him to an offer sheet. Look at what the bucks did with Brandon Jennings. No one even seems interested because the Bucks made it known that they would match. With George, the Pacers just eliminated their competition. They can now negotiate with Paul almost exclusively. It doesn’t benefit anyone to sign Paul to a max offer sheet if the Pacers are going to match. The only thing it can do is hurt the relationship between the Pacers and the team that signed him to the offer sheet.

      It is customary to say something like this in this situation. Had they not said something, other teams may have assumed that he was fair game. All they are doing is trying to gain exclusive negotiating rights in this situation.

  3. 12444uggg - Jul 18, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    I disagree.
    Small market teams need to make sure that their talent feel’s a sense of loyalty. These top talents are prideful, and playing into their ego does give the Front Office of the Pacers a chance to not have to max out to keep him.
    Geroge could force his way out, and this mitigates that potential to a certain degree.

  4. 00maltliquor - Jul 18, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    As he will and he should. Welps, there goes my Laker wishes.

    LeBron ain’t coming. Niether is Carmelo, nor should he…noooo thank you. Who else is out there!? Maybe we should build a team of B listers 10-12 deep like the Nuggets. Who’s the top 10 FA’s not named Melo, ‘Bron or Paul George, anyone? Can anyone supply me with a list?

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 18, 2013 at 6:34 PM

      Elton Brand
      Avery Bradley RFA
      Andray Blatche
      Paul Pierce
      Ben Gordon
      Ramon Sessions
      Luol Deng
      Kirk Hinrich
      Vince Carter
      Shawn Marion
      Dirk Nowitzki
      Greg Monroe RFA
      Rodney Stuckey
      Charlie Villanueva
      Andrew Bogut
      Paul George RFA
      Lance Stephenson RFA
      Danny Granger
      Darren Collison (Player Option)
      Kobe Bryant
      Pau Gasol
      Zach Randolph (Player Option)
      Ray Allen
      Chris Bosh (Early Termination Option)
      Shane Battier
      Mario Chalmers
      Udonis Haslem (Player Option)
      LeBron James (Early Termination Option)
      Dwyane Wade (Early Termination Option)
      Larry Sanders (RFA)
      Carmelo Anthony (ETO)
      Amare Stoudemire (ETO)
      Metta World Peace (Player Option)
      Evan Turner (RFA)
      Eric Bledsoe (RFA)
      Marcin Gortat
      DeMarcus Cousins (RFA)
      Isaiah Thomas (RFA)
      Matt Bonner
      Boris Diaw
      Tim Duncan (Player Option)
      Rudy Gay (Player Option)
      Kyle Lowry
      Derrick Favors (RFA)
      John Wall (RFA)

      • 00maltliquor - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:12 PM

        You sir, are the mother eff n man. Good lookin’ homieeee! Lemme comb through the list…….

      • 00maltliquor - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:31 AM

        Okay, checked out the list (hat tip, as Kurt would say, to the homie asimonetti88)……..looks horrible. Not interested. All the one I would consider are RFA. Okay, now I’m not so hype on this FA class. Kind of a down year.

    • kb2408 - Jul 18, 2013 at 8:04 PM

      00malt, my fellow LAKERS bro, allow me to take you back a few seasons. Kobe was frustrated, it seemed as if the LAKERS were treading water. Then out of nowhere BAM…the skies opened up and voila’…Pau Gasol was suiting up for the PURPLE AND GOLD. Oh ye of little faith!! Never underestimate the LAKERS. We may not get LBJ, Melo or Paul G. HOWEVER, 2015 is another great free agency year. The LAKERS will be fine, in spite of what the naysayers think. And, honestly, until those three all sign contracts with their respective teams, or elsewhere, the LAKERS have a better chance of getting one or two of them than anyone else. You can’t tell me that LBJ and Melo aren’t just a little bit intrigued with the idea of playing together in L.A. Long shot? Yes. Impossible? No. In closing, we survived the premature ending of Magic’s career. We survived the retirement of “the Logo”. We survived the retirement of the leagues greatest scorer, K.A.J. We survived the end of the era of the gloriously dominant, one and “only” Superman, Shaq. My friend, I’m here to tell you, the LAKERS will return to their “rightful” place atop the NBA. And, unlike every other team in the league, it won’t take us a decade or two.

      • dezglobal - Jul 18, 2013 at 9:23 PM

        I didnt even read your long speech but I saw that you capitalized Purple & Gold as well as Lakers So you get a thumbs down.

      • 00maltliquor - Jul 18, 2013 at 9:38 PM

        @ LL aka kb2408

        Good read. Nah bro, let me assure you I am not in the least bit worried about the Lakers and their long term future. We good, no matter what. Buuuut I DO want ever so badly to see Kobe get one, two more glorious rings. Kobe’s my dude, and he’s been around and done so much for us/LAKERS Nation/ Dr. Buss/ Los Angeles for soooo many years, it almost feels like he’s family. Heck, he is as far as I’m concerned.

        We will survive. We will flourish. We WILL prosper yet again. But my dude Kobe has 2-3 years left, and at that. I want my fam to hoist at least ONE more Larry. At least. And my life will be complete (semi-joking)!

      • redbaronx - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:55 AM

        @kb2408 – I hate to break it to you, but Kobe of 2014 is not going to be Kobe of 2007 anytime soon, and a Pau Gasau like addition isn’t going to help.

        I don’t know why Laker fans are in such denial. You guys are in for several years of rebuilding. If you’re expecting Kobe to lead you to a banner after a couple of additions this year or next year, it’s not going to happen. 2013/2014 is more going to resemble Lakers of 1992/1993 than 2006/2007.

  5. kinggw - Jul 18, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    The second tier of free agents includes Granger, Lowry, Bogut and if they decline their player options possibly Gay and Zach Randolph.

    You can see for yourself below:

  6. jimbo062981 - Jul 18, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    Bird has stated the Pacers will not pay the luxury tax. George could bolt to a team that will. Hebert has a near max deal, Stephenson will get paid, West has a large contract, as does Hill. No way they sign Granger next year if he commands descent contract. Pacers will look to cut cost eventually which could lead him to leave. 2 year window for Pacers right now.

  7. Sports King of this world - Jul 18, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    Bird knows a player when he sees one. Now Paul don’t get a big Stephon Marbury big head

  8. abchome - Jul 19, 2013 at 2:57 AM

    Paul George is going nowhere else. Everyone, saved Jim Buss and some Lakers fans, knows.

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