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It’s official, Paul George signs five-year max extension with Pacers

Sep 25, 2013, 11:48 AM EDT

Larry Bird, Paul George AP

Paul George is part of the core of the Indiana Pacers future now.

George has officially signed a new contract extension with the Pacers — believed to be a max deal at five-years worth at least $80 million (a number that could go up north of $90 million if George makes the All-NBA Team again and he qualifies for the “Rose Rule”) — and at a press conference Wednesday after the signing both team president Larry Bird and George talked about him as a cornerstone of the organization.

With that money and position comes a lot of responsibility.

“Pressure makes character and builds guys. I am open to the pressure. I want the pressure,” George said at his press conference at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, which was streamed online.

Fans of teams in small to mid-sized markets get jittery about their stars bolting for the bright lights of a big market, but throughout his press conference George referred to Indianapolis as “home” and said this was where he wanted to be (not that he was leaving after his rookie deal — nobody bolts a max extension to their rookie deal).

“My heart was really here and I couldn’t see myself anywhere else,” George said.

George is still improving at age 23 but last season he stepped up to be the focal point of the Pacers offense, averaging 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game while taking on much more of the offense in the wake of Danny Granger going down. George was the youngest player to make the All-NBA Team (he was third team) and he was rightfully the NBA’s most improved player.

Like George, the Pacers have made steady improvement the past three seasons, last season getting all the way to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Heat. This season they have a much deeper bench and they get the All-Star Granger back. The Pacers are contenders now, and that is another reason George didn’t want to leave.

“It’s all about basketball here. It was a no-brainer,” George said.

The Pacers are contenders with a young core, but some challenging decisions ahead — can they keep both Roy Hibbert and Granger, plus how do they replace the aging David West? — but with the improving George at their core this could be a very good team for a very long time.

  1. gmsalpha - Sep 25, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    Excellent news. ABM. Anyone But Miami!

  2. cbrown386 - Sep 25, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    As a Pacers fan, I couldn’t be happier. PG is developing into a superstar and is going to keep Indiana competitive for years. He’s a great kid who stays out of trouble and does a lot around Indiana. His attitude is the same has the rest of the team, humble and hungry. Can’t wait to see them raise a banner in the next few years.

  3. stlouis1baseball - Sep 25, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    Hallelujah! I knew it was just a matter of time. PG has been all over the local news repeatedly saying he wasn’t going anywhere. The kid is hard nosed. He works. Blue collar.
    One of the leagues best defenders. He does everything the right way.
    Indy is gonna’ be rockin’ this year. I can’t wait!

  4. therealhtj - Sep 25, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Let this be a lesson to all fans of teams with cap space – you will NEVER be getting a budding star coming off a rookie contract to jump ship. Absolutely. 100%. NEVER.

    They ALL take the money. Every last one of them. Just get it out of your heads.

    When they’re coming off that first big extension, now that’s another story.

    • ddarqwon - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:07 AM

      But if you’re smart enough you can trade for one.

      signed-Daryl Morey.

  5. bifford - Sep 25, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    Good for PG, good for Indy. I know people are saying he’s overpaid, but I wouldn’t mind if my team granted him that contract, he’s a really good player with a world of room for improvement.

  6. antistratfordian - Sep 25, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    Disappointed Lakers fans everywhere.

    • asimonetti88 - Sep 25, 2013 at 3:55 PM

      I think anyone who isn’t a fan of the Pacers has to be disappointed.

      • antistratfordian - Sep 25, 2013 at 4:21 PM

        Why wouldn’t I want the Pacers to overpay overrated players?

  7. dyn0myte - Sep 25, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    Does anyone know how to remove a Lakers sticker from the bumper of my car?

  8. adamsjohn714 - Sep 25, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    I thought he was overpaid the other day, but I was wrong. I was thinking that the best players in the league deserve the max deals, and then the pay scale goes down from there. Paul George isn’t one of those superstars, so therefore I didn’t think he deserved the max money. I was forgetting that those superstars are vastly underpaid for their production. Barring any major injury or inexplicably forgetting how to play basketball , Paul George will probably be worth this money.

    • antistratfordian - Sep 25, 2013 at 7:09 PM

      He’s still overpaid even if there are superstars who are vastly underpaid. I’m not convinced that George will ever be worth that kind of money. He’s going to be 24 and people treat him like he has he potential to be the next great SF like Kevin Durant or – even more absurd – LeBron James.

      Right now George is only about as good as KD was when Durant was 19 and a rookie.

      George is not even as good as LeBron when James was a rookie. LeBron as a senior in high school was a better player than Paul George is today.

    • bougin89 - Sep 26, 2013 at 10:36 AM

      I think when people hear the word “max” contract they take it the wrong way sometimes, not saying you in particular do but most people. George is getting a lot of money, and he has to play well(and keep improving) for it to be a good deal for the Pacers. But “max” contract players coming off of their rookie contracts aren’t getting paid as much as “max” contract players that are on their second big contract when they should be in their prime. For example, Chris Paul just signed a 5 year, 107 million dollar “max” contract. Clearly a “max” contract doesn’t mean this player is getting paid the most in the league.

      My point is even though both players are getting “max” money the actual $$$ isn’t equal. Paul George isn’t the most valuable player in the league, and shouldn’t and isn’t getting paid like it.

  9. abchome - Sep 25, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Congrad to George and Pacers! It’s a no brainer to both.

  10. babenkhajuria - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:34 AM

    PG 24 the future !!

  11. cruzan80 - Sep 26, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    They just gave Batman money to Robin….

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