Despite a really good 2016-17 season, Pacers star Paul George did not make an All-NBA team. For most people, that doesn’t mean much. In the grand scheme of things, not being a selection when you’ve made an All-NBA squad three times in your career isn’t a world ender.
But for George, this was a huge deal. Due to the league policy regarding the Designated Player Exception, George would have been eligible for a five-year, $207 million extension from the Pacers this offseason had he made one of the three All-NBA teams. Considering the most that another team could offer once he hits free agency next summer is a four-year, $130 deal, George lost out on a ton of cash. This also changes what Indiana can offer, as the max they can now give him is a five-year deal worth $177 million.
George is now in a spot where he’s not as incentivized to stay with the Pacers. There is a lengthy conversation to have about whether or not this is fair – the fact that the media is responsible for potentially helping a player make $30 million is kind of insane – but for now, the discussion surrounding George is about what’s next for him.
There are three things that can happen with George: He can choose to stay with the Pacers this summer and sign an extension, he can get traded sometime before the 2018 trade deadline, or he can hit free agency and then do exactly what he wants. Let’s ignore the first thing for now, because it’s not going to happen. Without the DPE there’s no financial incentive for George to sign an extension with Indiana now rather than wait until next summer and at least test the market before coming back.
As for where George might consider next summer, there are rumors aplenty about his desire to leave Indianapolis.