The Indiana Pacers and star forward Paul George are wasting no time in cementing their relationship. The Pacers and the 23-year-old have agreed to and are reportedly finalizing a five-year, $90 million extension, the maximum allowable amount under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement.
George broke out during the 2012-13 season, averaging 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.8 steals and 0.6 blocks per game. He also became a much better shooter, averaging 2.2 three-pointers per game at a 36.2 percent clip, while playing 37.6 minutes per game.
He also improved to average 19.2 points per game in the postseason, and is almost certainly going to be a part of USA basketball’s 2014 team that will compete in the World Cup of Basketball in Spain. If he’s on that team, it is almost a lock that he’ll also be on the 2016 Olympic team in Brazil.
George was voted the NBA’s Most Improved Player for 2013, and was selected to the All-NBA third team as well. George was the 10th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft and has until October 31 to agree to an extension in order to avoid restricted free agency next summer. It doesn’t look like that will be an issue.
George is developing into a star and the Pacers had to get this deal done soon. Locking him in should solidify the team as a big factor in the Eastern Conference for years to come. Combining him with Danny Granger, David West, center Roy Hibbert and the newly-acquired Luis Scola will make for a formidable nucleus.
The Pacers aren’t messing around. They inked West to a three-year, $36 million extension in July and signed Hibbert to a four-year, $58 million deal last summer.
Indiana took the Miami Heat to the brink in the Eastern Conference Finals last season. The two teams went toe-to-toe for seven games, with the Heat escaping with a 99-76 win in Game 7.
Expect George’s extension to be finished before the start of the season.