Paul George, LeBron James

Larry Bird on Paul George’s potential offers: ‘We’re going to match’


Paul George will be a free agent, but a restricted free agent, next summer. So, even if he wanted to leave Indiana for, I dunno, maybe the Lakers, the Pacers would have the right to match any offer.

George is well on his way to becoming a max-contract player, and if the Pacers believe he’s worth that much money, they won’t lose him.

“We’re trying to sign Paul,” Larry Bird told 1070 The Fan, Indianapolis. “It’s not as easy as it looks. We’re going to make a major offer to him. It’s going to be up to him whether he accept or not or goes out into the free-agency market. If he does, we’re going to match. But we’d like to get something done. We know he wants to be here. He’s a great kid. He’s one of the nicest young men you’ll ever meet, and he’s a good player. And we think we should take care of him.”

The Pacers could extend George’s contract before Oct. 31, and that would allow them to sign him for five additional years. If George makes an All-NBA first, second or third team this season, he’d even be eligible for a larger extension. Because Indiana and George won’t know whether that will happen before Oct. 31, they can negotiate contingencies in the event it does.

In short, if the Pacers are serious about paying George, they could offer him more guaranteed money before the season begins than any other team could offer next summer. If George becomes a free agent in 2014, the Pacers can match any offer he’ll receive.

Either way, it’s an extreme longshot George finds his way out of Indiana anytime soon.

Report: Mavericks may be team interested in Larry Sanders

Larry Sanders
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The Dallas Mavericks are looking for a center— desperately at times, they brought JaVale McGee into training camp to get a look. They will start Zaza Pachulia and behind him it’s probably Samuel Dalembert once he gets healthy.

Which is why Dallas may be the team interested in Larry Sanders — Mark Cuban is a guy known for giving second chances in the league. But there have been no talks, yet, reports Tim MacMahon at ESPN.

Larry Sanders has been out of the game since his buyout last February trying to deal with his personal demons and may well not be ready to return. He may never return.

His couple seasons with the Bucks were filled with drama and issues. There was the nightclub brawl left him with an injured thumb in need of a surgery. There were the charges of animal cruelty. There was a five-game drug suspension. There was missed time for personal reasons. There was the 10-game suspension for marijuana use (he failed at least four tests to get there) — then that suspension was extended past the 10 games. In the end, he agreed to a buyout to get space away from the game to deal with his personal issues.

He may or may not be ready to return from that. He may or may not ever be ready. But if he decides to give it a try, NBA teams will be waiting. Maybe Dallas.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Can Thunder win 60 games?

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Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka are healthy — just how good will the Thunder be?

The bold prediction in this PBT Extra preview with Jenna Corrado is that the Thunder will win 60 games, something they have not yet done. I wouldn’t bet on them hitting that number — with a new coach, and them making sure Durant and Westbrook get rest coming off injuries, plus the fact they’re in the deep West, that number may be high.

I think they have a better chance to come out of the West than win 60 games. I think they have a good shot to come out of the West.