Paul George missed out on the All-NBA teams that were announced on Thursday, which means the Pacers can’t offer him the super-max extension this offseason that would make him the richest player in the NBA, with a 5-year, $207 million deal. With the Pacers now only able to offer five years and $177 million, the difference between that and the four years, $130 million that other teams can offer next summer is far less significant when you consider that his next contract will likely start with over $30 million a year again.
That means that the Pacers must at least entertain the notion that they may need to trade George this offseason or at next year’s trade deadline in order to obtain some kind of value for their star that could very well walk next summer, as his desires to play for the Lakers are well known.
This past trade deadline, the Pacers reportedly had talks with a number of teams about George, but chose to keep him, likely holding out hope that he’d make an All-NBA squad and be unable to turn down the massive extension.
In doing so, the Pacers turned away significant offers, as the Celtics and Hawks both reportedly came strong with offers. The Celtics seem like they could still be a potential trading partner, especially if the rest of their Eastern Conference Finals series with the Cavs goes the same way Game 1 did and they realize they need more firepower to challenge Cleveland. As for the Hawks, they have plenty of decisions to make on their own this offseason, but they reportedly brought the house to Indiana looking to pry George away, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.