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Paul George says he has no plans to leave Indiana. Sorry Lakers fans.

Jul 23, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

Atlanta Hawks v Indiana Pacers - Game One Getty Images

Among the many and sometimes (often?) delusional dreams that Lakers fans have about the free agency rebuild the team will attempt in the summer of 2014 is this one:

Bringing Paul George back to his Los Angeles roots.

If the Pacers and George do not come to terms on a contract extension before Oct. 30 then he will be a restricted free agent next summer (meaning the Pacers could match any offer). There are Lakers fans suggesting the Lakers throw the max at the All-Star forward. Fans and front office types from a few other teams are thinking along those lines, too.

There are a couple problems with that, as Marc Stein of ESPN pointed out after talking to George (who is at the Team USA mini-camp in Las Vegas this week).

No. 1: George confirmed Monday after Team USA’s first practice of the summer on the campus of UNLV that his representatives and the Pacers have already opened discussions on a contract extension that could well prevent Indiana’s All-Star swingman from ever reaching free agency … even the restricted variety.

No. 2: George might have grown up worshiping Kobe Bryant, but he sounds like he’s working for the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce when someone brings up his future with the Pacers.

Asked Monday if he’s been following all the lobbying in Lakerland, George told ESPN.com: “I’m happy, man. I’m happy in Indiana. It’s overwhelming (to hear) that they would want a player like me to come play for their team. But right now I’m focused on Indiana. I’m happy to be in Indiana. Our future is bright in Indiana. I wouldn’t want to leave something great.”

Top players almost never leave after their rookie deal, they stay with the team that drafted them through a second contract to get some max money after that rookie contract ends. See LeBron James in Cleveland for an example.

So George wants to stay in Indy and get paid — and if he does that he’s on a contending team. One that pushed the Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals and then got better in the off-season.

Max money, contending team — George isn’t bolting that.

I’d be surprised if a contract extension is not worked out this summer or by early fall. He’s not going to be a restricted free agent.

  1. loungefly74 - Jul 23, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    good for Indiana for drafting a great player who wants to stay. The Lakers? i’m not worried too much with them….they are the Lakers, after all.

    • gofinsgoheatfloria - Jul 23, 2013 at 8:50 AM

      and good for Indiana for being a place where a great player might want to stay. The Pacers are looking very good, with Granger back and Paul George so much better because of what he had to do last year. And that hand slap between LeBron and Paul was a great moment last year – two guys playing their hearts out and showing props at the same time. If you didn’t love that moment, you don’t love the game.

    • qadrir - Jul 23, 2013 at 9:58 AM

      Highly Accurate ” delusional dreams that Lakers fans have about the free agency”

      LAKERS FANS “Melo wants to sign with Lakers, uhhhhhm, Le Bron can’t wait to bolt Miami and head to SOCAL for LAKERS, Durant is counting days before he can wear Purple & Gold.

      I say very myopic, childish and know doubt delusional fans.

      • loungefly74 - Jul 25, 2013 at 12:31 PM

        “know doubt”? uh…okay, buddy…

        highly accurate? nah. not too many think that at all. not sure where you get your stuff from…

        ww will see what happens. only a fool go about believing everything he reads…especially on the internet.

    • tsi431 - Jul 23, 2013 at 11:31 AM

      How is this a story? If George said anything other then, I plan on remaining with the Pacers, he would be immediately traded. End of story. Another dumb column.

    • spthegr8 - Jul 23, 2013 at 12:27 PM

      Even as a Laker fan it’s hard to say I blame him. They have a better coach, a better roster and they don’t have Jim ” Short ” Buss calling the shots…… Just keeping it real!!!

  2. unsportsmenmic - Jul 23, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    Reblogged this on UnSportsMenMic and commented:
    Wait til that money starts rolling in. Maybe George is a Reggie Miller type and can play his whole career in a small market. I don’t think so, but we will see

    • fanofthegame79 - Jul 23, 2013 at 9:58 AM

      I think, with the introduction of the internet, Twitter and other social media outlets, the small market/big market argument will lose some strength. If you’re good, the league and ESPN will want to cover you in a national way.

      • unsportsmenmic - Jul 23, 2013 at 10:30 PM

        That can be true but small/big market does play a big part. If Puig was tearing it up in a small market I doubt he would be getting all the ESPN love. Yes social media makes you known by the follower of the sport, but what about the grandmas and none followers, they would never know who George is because of his market, Example number 1 Jeremy Lin, if he didn’t play in NY we wouldn’t know who he was. Hell Damian Lillard tore it up last year and no one cares. Its a reason why the Spurs and Duncan don’t get the respect they deserve. Its because they are in San Antonio, let him play for major, we would see everyday people debating if he is the greatest PF and Big Man to play the game.

      • fanofthegame79 - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:54 PM

        Good points. And while I respect Duncan a lot, and he might be the best PF in the history (to be debated) there is no way I consider him to be the best Big Man to play. Too many great centers, IMO.

  3. heat256 - Jul 23, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    The sports landscape is littered with guys who swear they’ll never leave their original team but do and trot out whatever excuses they see fit. If these guys are smart, say nothing. Statements like these seem genuine but they leave the slightest of wiggle room to leave. Phrases like “right now” indicate their thinking can and will change later, enabling them to leave and try to look good. Why say anything at all?

  4. jeff6381 - Jul 23, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    This is just the start of it for Lakers fans get ready b/c this wont be the last time somebody says thanks but no thanks

    • paleihe - Jul 23, 2013 at 10:00 AM

      In order for him to say no thanks, an offer first has to be made, and that hasn’t happened.

      Regardless, it’s very rare for a max-contract player, on his rookie contract, to not sign his contract with the team that drafted him. Why? Because the way the CBA is written makes it a financially stupid move to leave your team. Then, in about year 7 or 8, that’s when you’ll actually get to test free agency.

  5. xli2006 - Jul 23, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    Forget Kate…. The sports media just berthed this story for their own benefit.

    Somehow Lebron, Carmelo, Irving, George were the “lucky” targets of a desperate media during a desperate NBA news post-draft period.

    The Lakers are old, plagued with contracts, and their franchise player is trying to overcome a major injury. Meanwhile the Pacers are young, balanced, and rising fast, with a firm grip on their cap.

    Paul is the face of the Pacers for the next 5-6 years at least, get used to it.

    • tsi431 - Jul 23, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      First off, after this year the Lakers have one player signed. Not hampered at all. With no Howard and Peace another $25 million plus off the books this season alone, hardly plagued financially (Have you seen Forbes list this year?).
      The Lakers “Franchise” player will still bring in more money then the whole Pacers team alone in jersey, tickets, and promotional sales, without stepping on the court.

  6. 4thehaters - Jul 23, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    People tend to do the opposite of what they say. Actions speak louder than words. People chase money. We all do it now, and professional athletes also chase money. The reality is, why would George distract the team by saying “yes, i’ll go to the lakers next season?”..how stupid would that be. He still has a year left with Indiana. The truth will come out at the end of the season. The Lakers will have more money than anyone else in the league next season. I’m not saying George will go to the Lakers. Sometimes you just have to read between the lines and “understand” that the NBA is a business, nothing more. Players are not loyal to their teams nor the fans, vice versa. Player are only loyal to the money

    • Kurt Helin - Jul 23, 2013 at 7:36 PM

      Remember the Pacers can and will match any offer the Lakers can make. George is a restricted free agent.

  7. onlyavoice - Jul 23, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    Best Chance Free Agent Signing For The Lakers Is Lala.
    If She Wants To Go To LA For Her Acting (Cough Cough) Career Then She’ll
    Bring Melo Along With Her.
    I Think They Sign Kobe & Thats It.

  8. rtwoj - Jul 23, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    Sorry Laker Fans?

    I’m sorry that you just wasted your time writing this stupid article… as if George would say anything other than what he did.

    Yes, because if he didn’t feel this way, then I’M SURE Paul George would say, “Oh hell yeah! I CAN’T WAIT to go back to L.A.!”- while he still has to playing in Indiana and in front of that crowd. Get real. I HATE these kind of No News articles.

  9. 4thehaters - Jul 23, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    The only people who love this article are the fans of losing teams that don’t want the Lakers to get any better, while their team struggles with nothing hanging from their rafters, except framing and lights. Heck if i was one of those loser fans, i would be upset too! I would be sick and tired of the 16 championships to my teams 0. I would want them to lose and lose and lose too. It’s the typical mindset.

  10. harshedmellow - Jul 23, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Sorry Lakers fans. Even the national media are haters.

  11. atthebuzzzer - Jul 23, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    Reblogged this on At The Buzzzer.

  12. cavemanna - Jul 23, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Laker homer here so ill share the sickness. All I seen was him say RIGHT NOW he’s happy. Doesn’t that leave the door open?

    • jimeejohnson - Jul 23, 2013 at 1:13 PM

      Ha! Reference above comments about delusional Lakers fans. I’m the same way: I thought Obama was going to be different than Bush Jr.

  13. jimeejohnson - Jul 23, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    He must like corn. Indiana has a lot of corn.

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 23, 2013 at 3:45 PM

      We grow corn in Los Angeles. Sweet corn even.

  14. jetslakersfan - Jul 23, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Wow this is new. A guy saying he happy where he at on the last deal of his contract. Don’t sign him to a make deal and see how fast he sign else where.

  15. soundsofsuccess7 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    He’s not gonna say, “yeah I’m leaving in a year, the Lakers are much more intriguing.”

    Of course he’s gonna say he’s happy where he is. Non-story, doesn’t mean anything.

  16. hungryhungryhibbert - Jul 23, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    I just think the CBA current and future will continue to restrict spending like the old lakers and at that point it will be all about who offers more. People loved Bus, do they love his idiot son? Not as much that’s sure ….

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