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Paul George says he’ll sign a contract extension with Pacers before the season begins

Sep 18, 2013, 9:02 PM EDT

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Back in July, Paul George did in fact say that “it would be tough to say no to Kobe” if the Lakers came calling when he potentially entered the summer of 2014 as a restricted free agent.

There was no panic in PacerLand, however, because George qualified that statement by saying how happy he is playing in Indiana, and later made it clear that he has no intention of leaving the team any time soon.

George could let this season play out before becoming a restricted free agent next summer, but the Pacers would simply match any offer he would receive. Or, he could avoid all that by signing a long-term extension to stay with the team before the October 31 deadline to do so.

From Michael Pointer of the Indianapolis Star:

“(A long-term contract) is going to get done,” George told The Indianapolis Star. “There will be a deal signed and sealed on the table before the season. We’re (George and Pacers management) on the same page.” …

Pacers President Larry Bird said earlier this week he hopes to reach a deal before the season because it would remove a potential distraction and give George a sense of security that many players crave — including Bird himself during his Hall of Fame career with the Boston Celtics.

“We are working on it now,” Bird said. “We’ve got a way set up where we definitely think we can get something done, but it’s going to have to work for both parties.”

The Pacers, of course, are coming off of a season that saw them push the eventual champion Miami Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals.

George was a big part of that, and even received mid-game, on-court dap from LeBron James during a particularly competitive sequence between the two teams’ respective stars.

The Pacers are on the rise, and added depth this offseason. Roy Hibbert might be the team’s most dominant presence, but George is its star player, capable of spectacular things. It’s wise for the Pacers to lock him up with a long-term deal as soon as he’ll sign, and it’s great for the franchise that he doesn’t want to play anywhere else.

  1. grapenutz08 - Sep 18, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    “Damnit!!!”

    —Laker fans

  2. kb2408 - Sep 18, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    By no means is this shocking news for LAKERS fans, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that he would stay with the Pacers. As much as I would love to have him suit up for the LAKERS, it would be foolish for PG to leave a great situation like the one he has in Indy. The Pacers are poised to win a title this season. Or, at the very least, compete for one. The East is wide open. And the Pacers are as good of a pick as anyone. In fact, they are my pick to represent the East in the Finals.

    • antistratfordian - Sep 19, 2013 at 12:58 AM

      When the stuff hits the fan the Pacers just don’t have the talent to get over the hump. Watch Game 7 again and you will see the difference between what a champion looks like and what a pretender looks like. The gap is very wide.

      So the Pacers aren’t good enough to beat Miami in a playoff series. No one in the East is. Been that way for 3 straight years – not stopping now. LeBron is too good.

      • 00maltliquor - Sep 19, 2013 at 1:41 AM

        That’s true.

        But honestly, all it takes is one major out-of-the-blue injury to LeBron at the right/wrong time (knock on wood) and the East race blows wide open. And it can happen. To anyone, including LBJ. And to be truthful, he’s enjoyed a DECADE of near perfect health, which is wildly amazing. Every player eventually gets hit by the bug. His time may be coming. It’s the way of the basketball gods. Sadly.

      • casualcommenter - Sep 19, 2013 at 2:37 AM

        The Heat have done well in surviving injuries to Bosh and Wade in the playoffs, but that’s almost entirely attributable to LeBron filling in the gaps at rebounding, playmaking, or scoring whenever one of his star teammates is injured.

        However, because of that, the Heat would almost certainly lose if LeBron were to get seriously injured, which can happen at any time.

        I also think that even if LeBron stays healthy, the Pacers have a chance because the starters outplayed the Heat’s starters for the most part in the playoffs. The Heat would gain leads when the Pacers were forced to turn to their awful bench, but the Pacers improved their bench this offseason, while the Heat amnestied Mike Miller, who was a big part of their bench in the playoffs. The Heat are relying on either Greg Oden or Michael Beasley as sources of additional depth, and both are potentially high reward but are considered far from sure things to contribute.

      • turkbox420 - Sep 19, 2013 at 4:05 AM

        Granger was not playing and Indy was competing. Add him, Scola, CJ Watson. The bench scoring was an issue all year and I think they covered that.

      • bkallday52 - Sep 19, 2013 at 10:02 AM

        enough talent??? miami won game 1 by a game winner. if pacers would’ve boxed out chris bosh than the and 1 that occured to tie the game wouldnt have taken place.. miami barely won that series .. WITHOUT danny granger

      • antistratfordian - Sep 19, 2013 at 3:13 PM

        “miami barely won that series .. WITHOUT danny granger”

        Not having Danny Granger is the reason why the Pacers didn’t lose in 5 or 6, imo. Him jacking up his inefficient jumpers would disrupt the effectiveness of their offense when it is centered around Hibbert and West. So the more shots that go to Granger for his 36% long jumper, the less shots go to Hibbert and West down low. Music to my ears.

        “…miami won game 1 by a game winner. if pacers would’ve boxed out chris bosh…”

        The series last year wasn’t about how much the Pacers have improved – in my opinion they were better in 2012 – but it was about the Heat’s overconfidence being their undoing.

        The Heat took the Pacers for granted. LeBron took George for granted. Miami beat the Pacers in 6 the previous year without Chris Bosh so they assumed they would walk over them this time with Bosh and Allen. But if LeBron/Miami approached George and the Pacers like they did with Durant and the Thunder – that is with full respect and attention – the Pacers would’ve won 1 game, maximum.

        So they have Miami’s full attention now and I think people are going to be surprised at how one-sided these Heat-Pacers match-ups are going to be from now on.

      • asimonetti88 - Sep 19, 2013 at 10:21 AM

        The Pacers are not good enough to beat the Heat… in 2013. But the 2013 season is over. We haven’t played a game in the 2014 season yet. We will see what happens in 2014.

      • johnnybooker - Sep 19, 2013 at 10:51 PM

        “The Heat took the Pacers for granted. LeBron took George for granted. Miami beat the Pacers in 6 the previous year without Chris Bosh so they assumed they would walk over them this time with Bosh and Allen. But if LeBron/Miami approached George and the Pacers like they did with Durant and the Thunder – that is with full respect and attention – the Pacers would’ve won 1 game, maximum.So they have Miami’s full attention now and I think people are going to be surprised at how one-sided these Heat-Pacers match-ups are going to be from now on.” That would make sense if it had been a 3 game or 5 game series. & games…you are truly stretching the bounds of believability if you think grown men and defending champs would take anyone for granted past the 4th game. I agree with what you said about Granger, but even if he gives us defense and rebounds after finding himself on the second team once Lance shows he’s improved too much to not keep starting. Lance and Paul are no where near their primes and now they’ll be one year older. As others have pointed out, we addressed our bench issues. On paper, these teams are even now unless Oden breaks out and returns to his Ohio St. days. The Heat have LeBron so that will always give them the edge, but these Pacers are no longer afraid of the Heat and they know they had a chance last year. They won’t let it slip by this year, barring an unforeseen injury to one of our top 5 guys.

      • antistratfordian - Sep 22, 2013 at 5:08 PM

        “you are truly stretching the bounds of believability if you think grown men and defending champs would take anyone for granted past the 4th game.”

        By the 4th game the tone has already been set, you can’t do much to change it. You have to enter Games 1 & 2 with your Game 6 & 7 mentality. That’s when a 60 win team is not taking a 40 win team for granted.

        The Pacers don’t have nearly enough talent to ever beat the Heat in a series. And let me remind you that the Pacers are a 40 some win team who had regressed in winning percentage from 2012 to 2013. Miami is going for 70 this year.

  3. lakerade - Sep 18, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    Boooooooooo. And great move by PG, it’s this kind of doing things the right way that makes him so attractive to other teams. Well, that and his mad game.

  4. gmsalpha - Sep 18, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    Staying in Indy is a great move for George. It’s by no means a big market, and I’m not sure exactly what there is to do in Indianapolis, but with the players and leadership the Pacers have, it’s a great team to be the cornerstone of. They will be one of the top 3 teams in the East for quite a few more years, and a break here or there going Indy’s way could easily see the Pacers back in the NBA Finals.

    I’m not going so far as to make them my pick in the East. I still think LBJ can beat any team almost single-handedly. But the East is weak, and the Pacers are definitely able to get to the Finals if LeBron doesn’t bring his A-game every night.

    • youngindy21 - Sep 19, 2013 at 12:04 AM

      There is plenty to do in Indy. But even if he gets bored in Indy, Chicago, Louisville and Cincinnati aren’t too far away.

    • kb2408 - Sep 19, 2013 at 12:38 AM

      The Pacers could’ve very easily have won the East last season, and probably should have. That was without Granger. I’m going to go out on a limb and say, with him back and the other new additions, they’re probably going to be better this season. Unless Oden and Beasley contribute, I’m not so sure the Heat will be better.

      • doc305 - Sep 19, 2013 at 9:59 AM

        And the year before that the Celtics “could have” or “should have” beat Miami to get to the finals. but they didn’t. If the only explanation people can give as to why Miami will not win the east is based on past coulda, shoulda, woulda than it becomes clear that it is more wishful thinking than honest opinion. It’s great that Indy has a stronger bench now, but everyone knows that in the playoffs the rotations dwindles to a 7-9 man rotation. Miami’s 7-9 are still better and have the experience to over come whatever comes their way, proven by all the times people so happily counted them out, only to have Miami prove them wrong again.
        Bosh is just now reaching the age of his prime and Lebron is in his. Wade will provide the sparks in a handful of games and the bench is full of unselfish three point specialists that know their role. ECF will be Chi vs Miami, Miami will take it in six, and than take the finals in six vs. OKC. Just my opinion..

      • soflasfinest - Sep 19, 2013 at 11:22 AM

        Could’ve, should’ve blah blah. Shut up laker homer. “IF” LBJ gets hurt. “The pacers were the better team” Quit hoping on ifs and buts. We made it to the finals 3 years in a row, and soon to be four.

  5. musician0785 - Sep 18, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    Pacers, Knicks, Bulls, Heat, Nets, the East is by no means “weak”

    • 00maltliquor - Sep 19, 2013 at 1:48 AM

      You can add in the Cavs too, buuuut……after that, whudaya got….

      NOTHING. East is mad top-heavy. Maybe the Pistons make some noise, but the East is in no way deep compaired to the West, where any team if they were relocated could contend for a playoff 7-8 spot out East. Even the Kings and Pelicans. Even the Suns.

  6. onlyavoice - Sep 18, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    Saying It All Along,
    The Lakers Will Not Sign Any Big Name Free Agents In 2014.
    Lip Service From George About Kobe, Truth Is No One wants To Play With “MY BALL MY TEAM” Kobe.
    No One wants To Play For D’Antoni (Lakers Know This, He’ll Be Fired By The New Year).
    Say What You Want About Howard, But The NBA Players Know Something Is Wrong If You Leave
    30 Million On The Table & Walk.
    The Lakers Are Hoping Kobe Doesn’t Make A Comeback & Retires. They Will Dump D’Antoni In Hopes That The Free Agents Know They Have A Clean Slate. If Kobe Does Make It Through The Season They Will Not Resign Him.
    Wise Choice By George, VERY WISE.

    • musician0785 - Sep 18, 2013 at 10:59 PM

      Stop trolling…everything you say sounds moronic…..the lakers are hoping he retires? They wont resign him? Then why not amnesty a 35 year old coming off a major injury for d12? NOTHING U JUST SAID MAKES ANY SENSE, and i bet you’ve never been anywhere near the city of LA

    • kb2408 - Sep 19, 2013 at 12:32 AM

      No one wants to play with Kobe? Why did Nash sign with the LAKERS then? Even this late in his career he had other options. Why does Pau look like he’s on the verge of tears every time he’s asked about being traded from the LAKERS? As for the team, if they didn’t want Kobe back why let Dwight walk? All they had to do is amnesty him, fire Mike D, hire Phil and Dwight would be here now. The reason why none of that happened is they understand that the LAKERS are more than just an NBA team and Kobe is more than just any aging veteran. He will take a pay cut and the LAKERS will reload. It was an easy decision for PG to stay in Indy because they are young, he’s the star of the team and they are legit title contenders. But take Hibbert and West off that team and the decision to not join the LAKERS might’ve been very different.

      • daveoo - Sep 19, 2013 at 1:01 AM

        Great points kobe2408

  7. lhollis74 - Sep 18, 2013 at 11:51 PM

    Pacers org just said, “good to hear, now make sure we offer him $10 mil less”.

    • casualcommenter - Sep 19, 2013 at 2:39 AM

      And if they did, Paul George’s agent would laugh and say, “Never mind, we’ll just wait for the Lakers to make us a max offer and force you guys to match.”

      • lhollis74 - Sep 19, 2013 at 11:35 PM

        Very true, but they will still low ball offer for starters to see exactly how much he really wants to stay. Especially since he already stated he wanted to stay. Hypothetically,If you know an employee really wants to work for you, and you know he will for $10 wouldn’t you check to see if he would for $8? What exactly did you think the lockout was about?

  8. thomaskouns - Sep 19, 2013 at 1:03 AM

    Other players don’t want to play with Kobe..

    Player – “Wow, I can get ripped in the media when things go South, watch a 35 year-old take more shot attempts than any other player in the league (Kobe led league in attempts last season) and have a contenscous locker-room atmosphere. So can you tell me again why I should play in LA?”

    Lakers are in for a rude awakening next off-season when no one comes knocking on their door….

  9. daveoo - Sep 19, 2013 at 1:13 AM

    According to a recent rookie poll, Kobe is the favorite NBA player to play with. Durant, Rose or even Lebron is below the Mamba. So for anyone to dis Kobe is just plain ignorant.

    • casualcommenter - Sep 19, 2013 at 2:44 AM

      The poll asked them their favorite player to watch, not their favorite player to play with.

      I’m not saying Kobe wouldn’t win a poll asking young players who they wished they had as a teammate – I’m just saying, this poll didn’t ask that.

      And there’s a difference between enjoying watching a player versus enjoying playing with a player. Michael Jordan is a player who was a lot of fun for fans to watch but regularly yelled at teammates and reportedly punched a couple, including Steve Kerr. I don’t know if I would’ve liked to play with him.

    • doc305 - Sep 19, 2013 at 10:02 AM

      No, the poll was who was their favorite players, not who they like to play with, practically none of the rookies have played with Kobe…

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