The Clippers and Paul George have completed an extension that will keep the star forward under contract for four additional years beyond 2020/21, agent Aaron Mintz tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Clippers have officially announced George’s new deal.
The four-year extension – which will go into effect in 2021/22, replacing George’s current player option – will be worth the maximum salary and will include a new player option for the ’24/25 season, according to Wojnarowski.
The four-year extension projects to be worth approximately $176.3MM, assuming a 3% salary cap increase for next season. After earning about $35.5MM in 2020/21, George would receive a projected $39.3MM in the first year of his new deal, with 8% annual raises from there. The final-year player option would be worth $48.8MM. Those figures would all be a little higher if the cap increases by more than 3%.
“This is an important moment for our franchise and our fans, to secure a long-term commitment from one of the premier two-way players in the NBA,” Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said in a statement. “We aspire to create a destination for players, an environment where they can succeed and enjoy their success. We’re delighted by Paul’s pride in representing Clippers fans, honored that he trusts the organization with this chapter of his career, and share in his relentless pursuit of championships.”
Although George only joined the Clippers in 2019, he was eligible to sign a veteran contract extension because it has been more than two years since he signed his current contract with the Thunder.
The move comes on the heels of George telling reporters that he’d like to retire as a Clipper. This doesn’t necessarily assure him of that — he could be traded before 2025, and even if he plays out his full contract with the Clippers, he’ll be 35 years old when it expires, so he could sign elsewhere at that point to continue his career.
Still, the extension means that George – like LeBron James, who also recently completed an extension – will no longer have the opportunity to become a free agent in 2021. His teammate Kawhi Leonard can still opt out next year and will be ineligible to sign an extension before then, but there has been no indication that the two-time Finals MVP plans to leave Los Angeles. The Clippers appear fully committed to continuing to build around the Leonard/George duo.
[RELATED: 2020/21 NBA Contract Extension Tracker]
George averaged 21.5 PPG and 5.7 RPG in 48 regular season games in his first season as a Clipper in 2019/20. Those numbers were his lowest in five years, but he was also coming off shoulder surgery and was limited to 29.6 minutes per contest, his lowest-full season average since his rookie year. He’s believed to be 100% healthy this year and will look to recapture the form that made him a six-time All-Star and five-time All-NBA player.
As a result of signing a new contract that exceeds the extend-and-trade limits, George will be ineligible to be traded during the 2020/21 regular season, notes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.