Indiana Pacers star Paul George was the odd man out on Thursday as the NBA released the All-NBA teams as voted on by the media. Jimmy Butler and Draymond Green landed the two forward spots on the third team as George and Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward were left off the teams. That may not seem significant on the surface, but considering that Hayward and George needed to make the All-NBA team this year in order to be eligible for the designated player exception, it’s a very big deal to those two players.
Butler, on the other hand, hits it and that is a big deal not jut for his future, but for how the league will look over the next couple years from a balance of power standpoint.
Had George or Hayward made one of the three All-NBA teams, they would’ve been eligible for a five-year, $207 million extension from their current teams this summer, which would have made them near locks to stay in Indiana and Utah respectively, even though George’s desire to go to the Lakers is well known. The most the Lakers could offer is a 4-year, $130 million deal, which is still a lot of money but not anything close to what the Pacers could have offered (potential salary numbers come courtesy Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report).
Now, the Pacers find themselves only able to offer a 5-year, $177 million deal to George, which is not all that significant a difference when you consider he will be able to make up a large portion of the $47 million difference in his next contract. The Pacers’ best hope to keep George next summer was for him to make this year’s All-NBA team and sign him to the super-max extension this offseason.
Now, they’ll have to take an earnest look at flipping George this offseason or at the trade deadline next season in order to recoup some assets for what is likely to be a departing superstar.