Paul George's future has consistently been the biggest topic in an otherwise boring (at least until Lance arrived...) Pacers' season.
While some fans have given up hope that Larry Bird can keep his franchise player here long-term, George's late season surge has put a new clause in the collective bargaining agreement back in play - and that would give the Pacers a HUGE advantage in re-signing him:
Since some of the verbage is confusing, what it boils down to is this: if Paul George makes the All-NBA team this year, the Pacers can add even more money to what they could already offer him with a max extension (35% of the cap). By kicking in this special clause, Indiana could offer George around $223 million in a long-term extension. That's over $70 million (!) more than any other NBA team can offer him in free agency next summer. (If you're interested in a more specific breakdown, Nat Newell of the IndyStar had a good write-up with some of the money details a few months ago, as did 8 Points, 9 Seconds.)
This DVPE was added to create a larger financial incentive for players to stay instead of moving around to create "super teams". George is among a small handful of players who would qualify for this exception because he hits all of the requirements:
- will have played 8-9 years in the NBA (next season would be George's eighth)
- will have been with the team that he played with during his rookie contract
- will have been on an All-NBA team the prior year (which, in this case, would mean 2016-17), or two of the three previous years (also applicable). A player can also qualify for the exception by winning Defensive Player of the Year or MVP, but that won't pertain to George.
PG has said repeatedly that he wants to play for a winner, but leaving around $70 million on the table would be awfully hard for any sane human to do. Plus, $200+ million in Indianapolis goes a lot farther than $125 million in Los Angeles... just saying.