Paul George and the Indiana Pacers have begun talks about a contract extension and could reach an agreement by Sept.25, the date when the All-Star forward becomes eligible for renegotiation / restructuring.
Even though George is under contract through the 2017-18 season, he has a player option for the 2018-19 season and could potentially become a free agent in the summer of 2018.
However, as reported earlier, George and Pacers president Larry Bird have been keen to make a long term commitment.
Since Indiana still has $6 million in leftover cap space, they can increase George’s salary for the 2016-176 to the current max value amount.
Russell Westbrook and James Harden have already agreed to similar contract restructuring with their respective teams.
While also increasing George’s immediate salary, the Pacers can extend his stay in Indiana until 2020, per several sources.
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President Bird confirmed to Indy Star on Wednesday that the team was ready to give George a pay raise.
“I know he (George) don’t want to talk about it all year and I don’t either. We want Paul here and we know what it’s going to cost and what it’s going to take.
“If Paul wants to get a deal done, we will. It’s a max deal. There’s no others, so there’s no use talking about it. If he wants it, he’s got it,” said Bird about his franchise player and perennial All-Star.
The only financial challenge facing George is that since he’s currently under the 0-to-6 salary cap restriction, he stands to make a lot more money by delaying the extension until next July.
If George were to agree to a new contract next summer, he stands to capitalize on the rising salary cap besides making 30 per cent of the cap since he’d enter the 7-to-9 experience bracket.
By signing an early extension, George stands to lose at least $5 million per year.
As this report pointed out, it would make more sense for Pacers and George to hold off talks.
“The other option would be for Indiana to simply use the current cap space and increase George’s salary for the next three seasons, propelling him to forego his player option for 2019-20.”
“This way, George would be committing only one extra year and get paid more in the process.”
Therefore, it won’t be surprising if Paul George and the Indiana Pacers hold off talks until next July. However, all the early signs point to George spending the rest of his career in Indiana.