Atlanta Hawks v Indiana Pacers - Game One

Paul George says he has no plans to leave Indiana. Sorry Lakers fans.


Among the many and sometimes (often?) delusional dreams that Lakers fans have about the free agency rebuild the team will attempt in the summer of 2014 is this one:

Bringing Paul George back to his Los Angeles roots.

If the Pacers and George do not come to terms on a contract extension before Oct. 30 then he will be a restricted free agent next summer (meaning the Pacers could match any offer). There are Lakers fans suggesting the Lakers throw the max at the All-Star forward. Fans and front office types from a few other teams are thinking along those lines, too.

There are a couple problems with that, as Marc Stein of ESPN pointed out after talking to George (who is at the Team USA mini-camp in Las Vegas this week).

No. 1: George confirmed Monday after Team USA’s first practice of the summer on the campus of UNLV that his representatives and the Pacers have already opened discussions on a contract extension that could well prevent Indiana’s All-Star swingman from ever reaching free agency … even the restricted variety.

No. 2: George might have grown up worshiping Kobe Bryant, but he sounds like he’s working for the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce when someone brings up his future with the Pacers.

Asked Monday if he’s been following all the lobbying in Lakerland, George told “I’m happy, man. I’m happy in Indiana. It’s overwhelming (to hear) that they would want a player like me to come play for their team. But right now I’m focused on Indiana. I’m happy to be in Indiana. Our future is bright in Indiana. I wouldn’t want to leave something great.”

Top players almost never leave after their rookie deal, they stay with the team that drafted them through a second contract to get some max money after that rookie contract ends. See LeBron James in Cleveland for an example.

So George wants to stay in Indy and get paid — and if he does that he’s on a contending team. One that pushed the Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals and then got better in the off-season.

Max money, contending team — George isn’t bolting that.

I’d be surprised if a contract extension is not worked out this summer or by early fall. He’s not going to be a restricted free agent.

LeBron says “get it done” message was for both Cavaliers, Thompson

LeBron James
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Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.

So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.

When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.

At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.

The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.

China basketball qualifies for 2016 Olympics

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China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.

China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.

Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.

This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.

The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.