What do the Pacers do now?
Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders:
Indiana is in a pickle.
Another team’s max offer for George next year projects to be about $132 million over four years ($33 million annually). If George doesn’t make an All-NBA team next season, the Pacers’ max offer projects to be about $177 million over five years ($35 million annually). If he makes an All-NBA team next season, their max offer projects to be about $207 million over five years ($41 million annually).
Is Indiana’s advantage if he misses All-NBA enough? What about if he makes All-NBA? Even if the Pacers knew the answers to those questions, All-NBA won’t be determined until after the season – past the February trade deadline, the last opportunity to deal George.
So, they could trade him now. But his mutual flirtation with the Lakers lowers his trade value. Teams – including the Lakers – won’t surrender much if George is just going to sign in Los Angeles next year, anyway.
Maybe the Pacers should take whatever they can get for him. Maybe they should let him play out his contract, hoping he makes All-NBA next season, and dare him to take less money to leave.
The first step is gauging trade offers – but they’re apparently not doing that yet.
This could be strategy, implying reluctance to deal to extract better offers. Or they might just be intent on keeping him despite the risk of him walking in a year.
Perhaps, they’re still evaluating. After all, there’s little difference between a trade now and one on draft night.
But sooner or later, the Paul George situation is going to come to a head. Indiana can’t delay that forever.