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Report: Paul George, Pacers finalizing five-year max contract

Sep 22, 2013, 10:48 PM EDT

Paul George

Of the 15 players who made the All-NBA first, second or third team last season, Paul George was the youngest.

On a related note, the 23-year-old is also arguably the most raw star in the league. Even though he just won Most Improved Player, George can become a a more-polished ball-handler and take his game to an even higher level.

That’s what the Pacers, whom George already led within a game of the NBA Finals, are apparently banking on.

Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

All-Star forward Paul George and the Indiana Pacers are finalizing a five-year, $90 million-plus maximum contract extension, league sources told Yahoo Sports.A deal is expected to be signed this week, league sources told Yahoo.For the Pacers and George, who was voted the 2013 NBA Most Improved Player, the five-year deal will cement the gifted young forward as Indiana’s designated franchise player.

George joins Derrick Rose, James Harden, Blake Griffin and Russell Westbrook as the only players to receive the “designated” player tag. The distinction, created in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, allows teams to give one player a five-year extension rather than a four-year extension.Because George made the All-NBA third team last season, he could be eligible for even more money than otherwise allowable. Most players with six or fewer seasons of experience can make only up to 25 percent of the salary cap. But George, if he makes another All-NBA team (first, second or third), would be eligible to receive up to 30 percent of the salary cap. Because the extension will be signed before the season’s award votes are tallied, George and the Pacers will agree to stipulations based for both scenarios.

No matter how the final details shake out, George will earn a lot of money, and Indiana is happy to pay him. It had been clear a deal was coming, both sides committed to each other.

The Heat are aging, and as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh show their wear and tear (or leave in free agency), the East becomes more wide open. The Pacers are in the mix, but George was integral to that.

With George to be locked up, Indiana ensures it will contend next season and maybe even play favorite down the road if George improves as hoped. If he doesn’t, it’s still possible this is a decent deal for the Pacers. He’s that good.

  1. xblthatguy - Sep 22, 2013 at 11:45 PM

    I wish PG would have settled for a bit less. Either way, I’m happy he’s staying in Indy. Can’t wait to see what he does in the years to come.

  2. danielgmz - Sep 23, 2013 at 12:28 AM

    Man, honestly, I have the Pacers winning the East. They are just TOO complete, TOO deep, and TOO big.

    • antistratfordian - Sep 23, 2013 at 1:30 AM

      They had a winning percentage of .605 last year which was lower than their winning percentage the year before (.636). They were a 40-some win team. Chances of them winning 55 games this year is not great. I’d say they’ll win 48. They are not a powerhouse. Hibbert has not improved at all and Paul George is Josh Smith Part Deux.

      • spursareold - Sep 23, 2013 at 11:53 AM

        Their “star” player missed almost the whole season. He’s back, and they’ve developed another star in P.G. In the LEastern conference, they could very well top 50 wins.

      • antistratfordian - Sep 23, 2013 at 2:35 PM

        Granger coming back is only going to allow them to get back in 50-win range if PG reduces his minutes/shots to 2012 levels and played SG the entire season. But those days are over.

      • bougin89 - Sep 23, 2013 at 12:37 PM

        You totally lost me when you said “Hibbert has not improved at all”.

        He played through a wrist injury for at least the first half of last season. He struggled a bit on offense with that injury, to say the least. If you don’t think overall he has improved you must only be following box scores.

      • antistratfordian - Sep 23, 2013 at 2:52 PM

        “He struggled a bit on offense with that injury, to say the least'”

        He always struggles on offense. He’s 7’2 and shoots 47% on his career. That’s not good.

        And I’m not just talking about last year, I’m talking about over the arc of his career. He has not evolved all that much from his rookie year – the main difference is today he plays more minutes. This helps their defense simply because he’s a large obstacle in front of the rim, but that doesn’t require talent or skill. He is a middling talent and is lacking in skill.

      • bougin89 - Sep 23, 2013 at 3:09 PM

        “This helps their defense simply because he’s a large obstacle in front of the rim, but that doesn’t require talent or skill. He is a middling talent and is lacking in skill.”

        HAHA.Hilarious. That’s quite a bit of fail. Hibbert is far from perfect but look at his playoff numbers by season and you’ll see his improvement since you’ll only argue on stats.

      • antistratfordian - Sep 23, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        I looked at his Playoff Per 36 Minutes numbers and they didn’t impress.

        The biggest “improvement” was that he was able to make 6 of 12 shots a game. Doesn’t sound like much but its a minor miracle for a player like Hibbert.

        So last year he played 37 minutes and scored 17 and pulled down 9 boards a game, and his block rate took a nose dive. For a 7’2 center that is not great.

      • bougin89 - Sep 23, 2013 at 4:43 PM

        Are you saying Hibbert wasn’t playing at an elite level defensively last year in the playoffs just because his block rate took a “dive”? Please.

        How many shots did he alter in the playoffs last year contesting shots at the rim against the Knicks and Heat?

        He put his nuts on the line quite often if you don’t remember him saying that(I’m paraphrasing).

        Look what he did to Tyson Chandler last year in the second round.

        And you’re saying he should do this because he’s 7’2? You can’t teach height, that’s what makes him so valuable(isn’t that obvious?)

        I mean all 7’2 guys easily dominate in the NBA…smh.

      • antistratfordian - Sep 23, 2013 at 5:50 PM

        “How many shots did he alter in the playoffs last year contesting shots at the rim against the Knicks and Heat?”

        I already explained this to you. He’s 7’2 and almost 300 pounds. That is why he alters shots. He just has to stand there and put his arms up. He has little in the way of talent or skill.

      • gostlcards5 - Sep 23, 2013 at 1:37 PM

        1) You apparently watched no Pacers games during the end of the regular season and the playoffs. Hibbert started playing better (after his above-mentioned injury), and was the primary reason that the Pacers beat the Knicks and took Miami to 7 games (Plus, I know this can’t be proven, but I believe if Hibbert had been in at the end of Game 1, Indy wins that series in 6). He was HUGELY improved by the end of the season, and wanted to shoulder the load. The guys an absolute leader.

        2) Calling PG “Josh Smith Part Deux” is ridiculous. Josh Smith has a great deal of skill, but (from what I’ve seen of him) plays inconsistently, appears to be apathetic on the court at times, shoots too much from the outside, and is a decent-to-good defender. PG, while he is still occasionally inconsistent, took huge steps forward this year. He is not what most would call “wasted potential”, a la Josh Smith. He has improved greatly spotting up, and because of his length, can drive and score. He is a good passer, and a great defender (he can play the 1 to the 3 with ease).

      • antistratfordian - Sep 24, 2013 at 1:30 AM

        POINT ONE

        I watched too many Pacers games. I watched more Pacers games than the average Pacers fan. I know more about most teams than their own fan bases.

        POINT TWO

        Paul George didn’t improve, he just played more minutes. And in some cases (FG% and 3P%) he regressed. In fact, George’s FG% has declined every year he’s been in the league. If he keeps it up he’ll be shooting 38% this season.

        Also, this:

        Josh Smith 2012-13: 17.5 PTS, 8.4 REB, 4.2 AST, 46.5%, 35 MPG, 17.7 PER
        Paul George 2012-13: 17.4 PTS, 7.6 REB, 4.1 AST, 41.9%, 38 MPG, 16.8 PER

        Smith played less minutes but still put up superior numbers while also being a solid defender. And last year was not even one of Smith’s best years. Continue to overrate Paul George at your own peril.

      • dexterismyhero - Sep 23, 2013 at 1:49 PM

        Paul George plays defense. Josh Smith never played defense.

      • antistratfordian - Sep 23, 2013 at 3:01 PM

        “Paul George plays defense. Josh Smith never played defense.”

        What!? No. Smith has always been known as a defender.

        The venerable Pro Basketball Prospectus (2012-13 edition) has Josh Smith’s Defensive Skill Rating at +5, which is their maximum. They had Paul George at +4.

        In 2012 PBP edition had this to say about Smith’s defense: “On defense, Smith was better than ever. His steal and block rates dipped a bit, but his on-ball indicators were sterling. The Hawks were more than six points per 100 possessions better defensively when Smith was on the floor.”

        And every Paul George fan I know made a big hubbub about PG leading the league in Defensive Win Share last year. Well, who led the league in Defensive Win Share the year before? Josh Smith.

      • bougin89 - Sep 24, 2013 at 3:02 PM

        This may post twice.

        So you’re agreeing with me that his size is what makes him so valuable. You didn’t point anything out, if anything you are discrediting his size, which is crazy.

        ” He’s 7’2 and almost 300 pounds. That is why he alters shots. He just has to stand there and put his arms up.”

        You really think that’s all it takes? Do you have any clue what defensive rotations are? Do you really think Hibbert just stands in front of the basket with his arms up? This is one of the weakest arguments.You should be embarrassed typing that…

      • antistratfordian - Sep 25, 2013 at 2:07 AM

        “So you’re agreeing with me that his size is what makes him so valuable.”

        I didn’t say “SO valuable” – I said his size is the only thing he has, and that’s really not much. We’re talking about a 40-some win team here in the Pacers with Hibbert’s Win Share portion being about 6.0. Not great. Even Chris “Butt Of Every Joke Because He’s Super Soft” Bosh is checkin’ in around 9.0.

        Conclusion: If Hibbert was 2 inches shorter he’d be on a bench somewhere in Turkey.

      • bougin89 - Sep 26, 2013 at 10:01 AM

        Funny you mention Bosh here. Hibbert dominated Bosh in that series.

        Lots of players wouldn’t be nearly as good as they are if they were 2 inches shorter(great point there…).

        Hibbert is so terrible that him and Paul George took the Heat to game 7. Yet all your comments are the spewing the same thing. Advanced statistics are very useful, but you should never believe them blindly. Otherwise you would build your offense and team around players like Tyson Chandler.

      • antistratfordian - Sep 26, 2013 at 5:25 PM

        Bosh thinks he’s a shooting guard and he’s admittedly afraid to bang. There is nothing impressive about “dominating” Chris Bosh. He can get boxed out by Nate Robinson.

        There is no difference between losing in 6 or losing in 7 because you don’t show up for the 7th game. The Pacers would’ve been better off just forfeiting the 7th game instead of embarrassing themselves as they did.

        And guess what? Tyson Chandler is a Defensive Player of the Year, gold medalist and champion. Is Roy Hibbert even trying?

      • bougin89 - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:58 PM

        Hibbert has had a much, much bigger impact than Chandler has had in the last two years as far as advancing his team in the playoffs. In that regard I would say Hibbert is most definitely trying, and trying much hard than Chandler when it really matters as he has completely outplayed Chandler. Also, Hibbert was more valuable defensively than Chandler last season.

        “There is no difference between losing in 6 or losing in 7 because you don’t show up for the 7th game. The Pacers would’ve been better off just forfeiting the 7th game instead of embarrassing themselves as they did.”

        That’s just non-sense.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 1, 2013 at 3:57 PM

        Cool story. Hibbert is still overrated.

        The Pacers are not going to be able to beat Miami in a must-win situation. They just don’t have the talent to overcome the obstacles.

      • bougin89 - Oct 2, 2013 at 10:06 AM

        I never said they would. You sound like a bitter, biased Miami Heat fan.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 2, 2013 at 2:45 PM

        Heh. What would a Heat fan have to be bitter about? And I am biased towards reason.

      • bougin89 - Oct 2, 2013 at 4:43 PM

        “And I am biased towards reason.”

        Sure sounds like it!

      • antistratfordian - Oct 2, 2013 at 4:55 PM

        Thanks. I endeavor to get readers to understand this about me and it’s nice to hear when I’m successful.

        In other words, I’m not biased towards the Heat. If I thought the Heat would lose a series I would say so but it is simply unreasonable to say so at this point. And I believe you understand this but because of random fandom you will not acknowledge it – that’s being unreasonable.

      • bougin89 - Oct 3, 2013 at 9:19 AM

        You “debating” Roy Hibbert = unreasonable.

        See previous posts for proof.

        Thanks.

  3. frank35sox - Sep 23, 2013 at 7:48 AM

    Uh ok. Sounds like you watch a lot of Pacers games. Let’s leave the commentary to people who have a remote idea what they are talking about.

  4. indyshepherd - Sep 23, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    The fix is already in for next season. Mami 3-peat. Comrade Stern is printing t-shirts.

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