Paul George

Paul George just made $6,788,165*

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Paul George is having a good day.

The Pacers forward just made $6,788,165.*

*That number, and numbers in this post, are based on the NBA’s latest cap projection. When the league reviews its books and sets the actual salary cap in July, these numbers will change slightly.

By making the All-NBA third-team, George will earn more money on the five-year contract extension he signed before the season. As detailed previously, that extension set George’s 2014-15 salary to rise from 25 to 27 percent of the salary cap if he qualified for the Derrick Rose rule. By making an All-NBA team – the second of his career – he qualified.

The yellow line shows what George will make the next five seasons (27% of the max). The blue line shows what he would have made if he missed the All-NBA teams (25% of the max).

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Season 25% max 27% max
2014-15 $14,756,881 $15,937,431
2015-16 $15,863,647 $17,132,738
2016-17 $16,970,413 $18,328,046
2017-18 $18,077,179 $19,523,353
2018-19 $19,183,945 $20,718,660
Total $84,852,064 $91,640,229

Unfortunately for the Pacers, George’s good news is not their own.

They’ll owe George an extra $1,180,550 next season, cutting into their leeway for re-signing Lance Stephenson while avoiding the luxury tax (projected to start at $77 million).

Let’s say the Pacers keep all 10 players they have under contract for next season,* sign the No. 57 pick to a minimum contract and fill out a 13-player roster with one more minimum-salary free agent.

To avoid paying the luxury tax, that would leave $8,442,470 for Stephenson’s starting salary. Based on the length of the deal, here’s the most he could earn without forcing Indiana into the tax range:

  • One-year contract: $8,442,470
  • Two-year contract: $17,518,125
  • Three-year contract: $27,226,965
  • Four-year contract: $37,568,991
  • Five-year contract: $48,544,202

*George, Roy Hibbert, David West, George Hill, Luis Scola, Ian Mahinmi, Chris Copeland, C.J. Watson, Solomon Hill and Donald Sloan

If the Pacers need to offer Stephenson more money, they could waive Scola ($940,946 guaranteed) and replace him with a minimum-salary player. That would grant Indiana $3,953,256 in additional room below the tax line.

In that case, the Pacers could give Stephenson a starting salary of $11,454,780 and avoid the tax. Depending on length of the deal, that would look like (max):

  • One-year contract: $11,454,780
  • Two-year contract: $23,768,668
  • Three-year contract: $36,941,665
  • Four-year contract: $50,973,771
  • Five-year contract: $65,864,984

That should be enough wiggle room to re-sign Stephenson – though it leaves an opening for a preying opponent to poach him. Stephenson’s max starting salary next season is projected to be $14,756,881 – the same amount George avoided by making an All-NBA team. The Pacers would have to do more than just waive Scola to offer Stephenson his max.

Plus, if re-signing Stephenson requires waiving Scola, that wouldn’t leave much room under the tax line to upgrade the team elsewhere. Without making other moves, it’s unlikely Indiana could use its full mid-level exception ($5,305,000) without crossing the tax line.

However, the tax is not assessed until the end of the season. The Pacers could begin the year with a payroll over $77 million and figure out the rest as they go. Would they take that risk? I don’t know.

Paul George is having a good day. Because of it, the Pacers face a summer of tough(er) decisions.

Jason Terry chose Bucks because he wants to play, not just mentor

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 27:  Jason Terry #31 of the Houston Rockets dribbles the ball against the Golden State Warriors in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on April 27, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Jason Terry has talked about reaching out to multiple teams, including contenders, during free agency before settling on the Milwaukee Bucks. When he talked about why the Bucks, he spoke of believing in what Jason Kidd was building.

There may have been another reason: Minutes.

From Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times:

Some NBA officials contend he signed with Milwaukee and rejected overtures from a handful of teams, including the reigning NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers, because of potential playing time.

“He wants his minutes,’’ said an NBA executive, whose team had shown some interest in signing Terry. “He didn’t go there (Milwaukee) to sit on the bench.’’

Terry’s agent denied this, saying he wanted to be part of the Bucks.

If minutes was a key part of his decision, so what? Guys choose teams for money (usually), wins, to play with friends, lifestyle, and weather, plus other reasons — how much run they get is in that mix. It’s never just one thing. And playing time matters.

No doubt Terry will get run with the Bucks behind Matthew Dellavedova, although Giannis Antetokounmpo with the ball as point guard is what is going to make this team fun to watch.

Report: Other league executives don’t expect DeMarcus Cousins to stay in Sacramento

SACRAMENTO, CA - FEBRUARY 26:  DeMarcus Cousins #15 of the Sacramento Kings stands on the court during their game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Sleep Train Arena on February 26, 2016 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The vultures have been circling.

Other teams have called Sacramento GM Vlade Divac since the day he took office to inquire about the availability of DeMarcus Cousins — however, only George Karl took those calls and tried to run with it. The Kings know they have a franchise player, the best traditional center in the game right now, in Cousins and that is hard to come by. While it may not be easy — Cousins has always been demanding of those around him — they need to make it work.

Enter coach Dave Joerger, the guy who had success with difficult personalities in Memphis and got that team to the conference finals a couple of times.

Cousins has this season and next on his deal, and around the league the conventional wisdom is he bolts when this contract is up (hence the trade calls). Here is what one executive told Zach Harper of CBSSports.com.

“They’re fooling themselves if they think he’s sticking around,” said one league executive. “The good news for them is his value will always be high. There isn’t a point of no return in which you’re not getting high value for him. Teams will bid against each other in the trade market. Maybe [Cousins] doesn’t go for the biggest money in free agency but you’d love to have that card to play.”

The Kings aren’t giving up on being able to keep Cousins. They hope Joerger, the Olympics experience, some winning, a new building, and a trip to the playoffs will have Cousins thinking Sacramento is his home, where he wants to stay and build something.

I’d be surprised if the Kings seriously considered any move before next summer. But if Divac and company get the sense after this contract that they may not be able to keep Cousins — and let’s be clear, up to this point the organization has given him little reason to put his faith in them, Cousins is not unreasonable here — they have to make a move. This is not Oklahoma City where they can just turn the team over to Russell Westbrook, if Cousins goes it’s a rebuild in Sacramento (for a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in a decade).

Celtics fans (and the rest of you convinced Cousins is coming your way), you need to wait it out. This is not going to be some quick move this summer.

But the vultures are circling.

Harrison Barnes says Mavericks are Nowitzki’s team, he has to prove himself to German

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 16:  Harrison Barnes #40 of the Golden State Warriors shoots the ball against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Harrison Barnes is the new gun in Dallas — a four years, $94 million contract says so. Dallas is betting the No. 4 option in the Warriors attack is ready to blossom as the No. 1 option with the Mavericks.

But make no mistake, the Mavs are still Dirk Nowitzki‘s team.

Barnes knows it and told Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News he has to prove himself.

“Out of respect, this is Dirk’s team,” Barnes said. “He’s put in the years and won a championship. But I have to go out and earn that. People assume that just because you get paid a lot of money and have a lot of attention that all of the sudden you’re guaranteed this many shots. I have to prove that every day in practice. I have to prove that to the coaching staff, and ultimately, if I’m going to be the guy taking shots, I’ve got to prove it to Dirk.

“You have to have that balance of scoring and playmaking, and learn how to be a closer. I think that’s the beauty of it, that I get to learn from one of the best to ever do it in Dirk Nowitzki. You talk about guys closing games, he’s got to be top-five all time. I’m just looking forward to learning from that guy.”

That’s exactly what he’s supposed to say. Well done by Barnes.

There is going to be an adjustment period in Dallas. Barnes may be able to handle being a No. 1 option — don’t let his rough Finals or riding the bench in the Olympics cloud your judgement — but we will have a better sense of that in February and March rather than November. He needs time to grow.

By the way, good on Mark Cuban for using the cap space he had to make Nowitzki the highest paid player on the team at $25 million — reward the guy who has been loyal to you.

Two men charged in fatal shooting of Nykea Aldridge, Dwyane Wade’s cousin

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 29:  General manager Gar Forman of the Chicago Bulls (L) listens as Dwyane Wade speaks during an introductory press conference at the Advocate Center on July 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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It is a heartbreaking story. Nykea Aldridge, a mother of four, was pushing her stroller down the street in Chicago when she was caught in the crossfire of a couple of men, and she was shot in the head and arm and died. Aldridge happens to be the cousin of Dwyane Wade, which brought this to national attention.

Two men have been arrested for the shooting, reports NBCChicago.com.

Two adult brothers have been charged with the murder of 32-year-old Nykea Aldridge on Friday, Chicago police said Sunday morning…. Derren Sorrells… is a documented gang member and was on parole for motor vehicle theft and for escaping custody, police said….

Darwin Sorrells… was a co-conspirator in the crime, police said, and was also on parole for a gun charge. He was sentenced to six years in prison in January 2013 and released early in February 2016, according to police….

Johnson said the Sorrells brothers approached another man nearby and opened fire, targeting an individual who “was driving females from a suburb to Chicago in a fair exchange program.”

Wade tweeted this on Saturday, referring to the violence in his home city.