The Pacers have until October 31st to reach an agreement on a new contract for Paul George, avoiding going through the process of restricted free agency next summer. And according to George, he and the team plan to work out an extension by that Halloween deadline.
"[A long-term contract] is going to get done," George told Michael Pointer of the Indianapolis Star. "There will be a deal signed and sealed on the table before the season. We’re on the same page."
Pacers president Larry Bird also expressed optimism this week about getting something done before the season, according to Pointer. Bird noted that it would remove a potential distraction from the equation, and give George some long-term security.
"We are working it on it now," Bird said. "We’ve got a way set up where we definitely think we can get something done, but it’s going to have to work for both parties."
Because the Pacers would have the ability to match any rival offer sheet George signed in the summer of 2014, there has never been any real concern that the rising star would leave Indianapolis anytime soon. However, it wasn't clear whether the two sides would be able to reach an extension agreement this offseason, or whether George would hit the open market next July.
As Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors wrote when he examined George's extension candidacy earlier this summer, the 23-year-old would certainly receive a four-year maximum salary offer in free agency. As such, Indiana will likely have to offer something in that neighborhood, unless the former 10th overall pick is willing to take a discount. We'll have to wait and see what sort of deal is reached by George and the Pacers, but perhaps the club could offer a fifth year in exchange for the CAA client accepting slightly less than the max.
George was named the NBA's Most Improved Player for 2012/13, when he set career-highs in PPG (17.4), RPG (7.6), PER (16.8), and several other categories. He also helped lead the Pacers to within one game of the NBA Finals, even without the injured Danny Granger.
So far this offseason, two players eligible for rookie-scale extensions have inked new deals: John Wall signed a five-year max contract with the Wizards, while Larry Sanders reached a four-year, $44MM agreement with the Bucks.