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.