Well Pacers fans, it’s that time of year again. You know, the mysterious time when the media runs rampant with speculation about where Paul George will land. Whether it’s Los Angeles because George wants to play at home or Boston because he seeks a championship, the rhetoric is always the same. The mainstream media will fill your timelines and notifications tab with rumors as to why George has no chance of being a Pacer past next year. However fret not, as we are here to explain to you three reasons why George not only could remain a Pacers but why he will.
George will soon know whether or not he has a large monetary motivation for remaining in Indianapolis. If he is named to the 2017 All-NBA team the accolade will allow the Pacers to offer their superstar a staggering $73 million more on a max extension. While George has a strong chance to make the All-NBA third team, he will have to beat out Golden State forward Draymond Green. While making the All-NBA team would enhance the amount of money George could earn on a new deal, it is the end-all-be-all. Even if George fails to achieve the accolade, the Pacers have two key factors working for them. Indiana has the ability to offer George a six-year deal compared to the five-year deals other teams can make use of. The Pacers also hold George’s Bird Rights which allow them to exceed the salary cap in an attempt to resign him.
Money is fine but George has stated multiple times that he wants help. George wants to play for a winner. Now you might be thinking to yourself that the current Pacers team is not really a championship contender and you are correct. Kevin Pritchard and the Pacers have their work cut out for them but the pieces are there. Despite how anyone feels about guys like Monta Ellis and Jeff Teague, the team has a young talented center in Myles Turner, an energetic spark plug in Lance Stephenson and a superstar in George himself. The team also has the benefit of a young guard who has sufficient talent in Glen Robinson III. While this may not be all the help George wants, it is a solid foundation to build from. Stephenson should help tremendously as he and George are good friends and tend to play well together. Don’t be surprised if the Pacers are also very active in free agency this offseason. Indiana is very serious about getting George the help he wants.
The final reason fans should feel at ease is George’s love for the city. George has a unique and intimate relationship with Indianapolis. In 2014 he suffered what could have a career-ending injury during a Team USA exhibition game. George missed nearly the entire season that year only appearing in six games. What many don’t know is that the Pacers paid his entire salary that season, nearly $17 million. The fans love him and he knows it. Earlier this year, rumors circulated that the team may trade George and rebuild. When the deadline passed and George was still a Pacer fans let him know their thoughts. Coming out to a standing ovation in the next game he had this to say,“It was an emotional moment to be honest. Even running out of the tunnel, I couldn’t help but have a little smirk from them just being happy and cheering, them being really happy for me continuing my career here. I felt that. I felt a little queasy going out, but that’s the reason why I love being here. That’s love that I love here.”
There you have it: the main reasons that George will remain a Pacer. Next time ESPN tries to tell you different, just change the channel; odds are those guys will be fired by Friday anyhow.