Report: Shawn Marion meets with Larry Bird, Pacers on Monday

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When Paul George went down with a horrific leg injury playing for Team USA, leaving him out for next season, Indiana’s question heading into next season went from “can they get back to contending?” to “should they tank and try to get a high lottery pick?”

Still, they need to get someone to fill Paul’s role on the team and one of the first names to come up was Shawn Marion.

The Cavaliers were considered the front runners but can only offer a minimum contract, and frankly Marion deserves a little more than that after his past season. The Pacers can offer a little bit more and made their pitch Monday, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

What the Cavaliers can offer is winning, once the Kevin Love trade goes through they are legitimate title contenders for the foreseeable future.

What the Pacers can offer is a little more money. With George out the Pacers applied for the disabled player exception, which would allow them to sign a player for up to $5.3 million. Except Indiana is not going to offer that much. Even if the Pacers waive their unguaranteed contracts they are about $2.5 million below the luxury tax line that the team is not going to cross. They are not going to offer more.

That’s about a little more than a million more than the Cavs (Cleveland is just $1.7 million under the cap as is). For a 15-year veteran who has $133 million in career earnings, is that enough reason not to go for the team that is a contender?

That’s why the Cavaliers are considered the front runners. We’ll see what Marion decides soon.