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.

Chandler Parsons hires law firm, which calls car-crash injuries potentially career-ending

Chandler Parsons
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Hawks forward Chandler Parsons was involved in a car crash last week.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

It’s easy to see where this is headed. Parsons is positioning himself for a lawsuit, laying the seeds for both lost earnings and emotional distress. We might see Parsons’ future NBA salaries be litigated.

Parsons signed a four-year max contract in 2016. He hasn’t had a reasonably productive seasons since, struggling with knee issues. Parsons recently touted how healthy he felt, but that had to be viewed in context of a 31-year-old with an extensive injury history.

Parsons had played sparingly the last four seasons, including just five games this season. Did he land outside the Hawks rotation because they’re focused on youth or because he’s just no longer good enough?

That could become a question for a court room.

Parsons will be a free agent this summer. I projected him for a minimum-salary contract somewhere. He was clearly hungry for an opportunity without the max-contract burden weighing on him.

It’d be a shame if Parsons lost that because of a drunk driver.

Kyrie Irving on getting criticized: ‘They crucified Martin Luther King’

Kyrie Irving on Martin Luther King Jr. Day
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Kyrie Irving missed nearly two months with a confounding injury.

During that time… Kendrick Perkins accused Irving of faking to avoid returning to Boston. Celtics fans chanted “Kyrie sucks!” without him even there. More examples of Irving’s moodiness in Boston emerged. Kevin Garnett suggested Irving didn’t have the cojones to play for the Celtics.

YES Network (2:40 mark):

Irving:

When I was out for those seven weeks and not saying anything and still people are still saying things about me. It’s inevitable. They crucified Martin Luther King for speaking about peace and social integration. You can go back to historical leaders and great people in society that do great things, and they’re still going to talk s—about them. It is what it is.

I don’t think Irving is putting himself on King’s level but rather pointing out that even great people get attacked. This could be a way for Irving to contextualize that he shouldn’t fret about the lesser criticism he faces.

I’d give Irving that benefit of the doubt, especially considering his comments on Brooklyn hosting the 76ers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, today.

Michael Scotto of Bleacher Report:

Irving:

It’s more than an honor. I have done so much historic research on just my community as well as they voice that I have and where I am in the position I’m in as well on the platform. I just wish there were not just holidays to commemorate some of the historical black leaders that have really put their lives on the line and lost it in the line of Civil Rights or making a social impact. Those things hit you real deep when you know the history of where the society has gone. I’m really grateful to play on Martin Luther King Day, but his legacy exists more than just a game being played on that day or Nike shoes being put out or something else. It’s so much more for our society to realize what he was really involved in and what he did in terms of communities across the world on

Again, I don’t think Irving was equating himself with King.

But can I absolutely put it past Irving, who talks as if he’s on a higher plane of existence, emphasizes his own importance and makes weird self-comparisons? No.

It also wouldn’t be the NBA’s first case of being tone deaf about King.

Report: Knicks not interested in trading for Pistons center Andre Drummond

Andre Drummond
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The Hawks are reportedly are no longer interested in trading for Pistons center Andre Drummond.

What about the Knicks, whose trade talks with Detroit were reportedly more serious than exploratory?

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

According to an NBA source, the Knicks have no interest in a trade despite a report the Pistons approached them about a deal

Like Atlanta, New York both isn’t winning anything of note this season anyway and can easily open cap space to pursue Drummond in unrestricted free agency this summer.

The Knicks also have another center in Mitchell Robinson. They should develop him rather than surrendering assets for a replacement who might not be as good as Robinson once they’re ready to win.

New York is desperate. So, a Drummond trade seemed at least plausible.

But not trading for Drummond makes the most sense. Though the Knicks could do anything, I’m inclined to believe this report.

Kristaps Porzingis expected to return Tuesday vs. Clippers after 10-game absence

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Knee soreness, followed by an illness, has had Kristaps Porzingis in street clothes for 10 games, dating back to before the first of the year.

Sunday he went through practice and expects to play Tuesday when the Mavericks host the Clippers, Porzingis told the media Sunday.

That’s pretty much what the Mavs and KP were saying last week, then knee soreness flared up again and he sat out a few more games. This time he seems ready to go, although expect him to have some reduced minutes the first couple of games back.

Porzingis is averaging 17.3 points and 9.4 rebounds a game, shooting 34.3 percent from three and providing a dangerous pick-and-pop partner for Doncic. Porzingis, who missed all of last season recovering from a torn ACL, has improved as the season has gone on and he’s gotten his legs under him.

Dallas went 6-4 without Porzingis and their league-best offense didn’t miss a beat thanks to Luka Doncic. Defensively, however, the Mavericks missed his size in the paint, giving up 6.9 points more per 100 possessions in those 10 games than they averaged when he is on the court this season.

Dallas is 27-15 on the season and currently sit fifth in the West.