Paul George on his future in Indy: ‘I ain’t even at that point yet’

This could be a big summer for the Indiana Pacers. But it all hinges on Paul George and his future with the franchise.

George, a perennial All-Star, is under contract for two more years — through the 2018-19 season — but the final season is a player option. And due to a recent climb of the salary cap, mostly due to a large increase in television revenue, players on older contracts are due to get paid.

All-NBA voting, of all things, might play an important role in the Pacers’ star remaining in Indy. If he’s voted on one of three All-NBA teams for the second time in three years by approximately 100 media members across the league, he will become eligible for a supermax extension that adds five years — for a total of six years and an estimated $200-plus million.

If he’s left off, then he wouldn’t leave much on the table by going elsewhere in free agency next summer. I wrote about it in detail here: Paul George hopeful to be voted on All-NBA team.

Of course this came up Sunday, after the Pacers were swept in four games by the Cleveland Cavaliers … but George said he’s not quite ready to discuss it.

“I ain’t even at that point yet. Next question,” he said, then later added, “That exit meeting is tomorrow and I’ll wait for that time.”

Until then, it’s we’ll see.

“I hate to look back on the past but you take a year like last year with that group, we got eliminated in the first round but we felt like if you add a couple pieces to that group and we had something. But every year is different. You got to go as they come. I don’t know, we’ll see. We’ll see what moves the team makes and how it stacks up going forward.”

[Read George’s full comments after Sunday’s season-ending loss]

Pacers President Larry Bird will be the one tasked with trying to keep the franchise player. He’ll have money to spend in the offseason, and he’s well aware of what George is wanting — to win.

“I don’t lose sleep over that,” Bird told RTV-6 Sports Director Dave Furst. “There’s talk of that every day. Paul’s going to make the decision for Paul and the franchise will make the decision that they have to make. I want him here for his whole career. We think he’s a crucial piece of what we’re trying to do. Paul’s been great for us.

“I know Paul likes it here. He wants to have guys around him that he knows he can compete for a championship [with], and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

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