When the All-NBA teams were announced Thursday afternoon, the Indiana Pacers clung to the hope that Paul George‘s name would be listed among the honorees. With several millions on the line, George was not awarded All-NBA status, leaving him just short of the super-max designation.
Now, less than a month after assuming basketball operations duties from Larry Bird, Kevin Pritchard is officially on the clock.
Had George made one of the All-NBA teams, Indiana would have been able to offer him the new Designated Player Extension, totaling approximately $210 million over five years. Instead they will, at this point, only be able to offer about $177 million. If he makes it to free agency, other teams will be able to offer the All-Star $132 million over four years.
The difference is quite significant and means that Indiana’s max offer probably will not be enough to get George to commit to an extension this summer. Thus, the Pacers face a predicament similar to what Oklahoma City faced recently with Kevin Durant: trade the star to ensure some sort of return, or keep him and risk getting being left with a bare cupboard should he decide to walk.
Rumors have long been swirling about the trade market for George, whose name was floated at the trade deadline with the Pacers mired in a slump. George made it clear this season that he wants to play for a contender, but reports also have tied him to his hometown Los Angeles Lakers.
If Indiana decides to trade George, June’s NBA Draft appears intriguing. Each of the first two picks–currently owned by the Boston Celtics and Lakers, respectively– could be part of the packages used to acquire George.
Does Indiana want to commit to what would likely then be considered a rebuild? Is Myles Turner a player that can be built around? That much remains to be seen.
One thing is certain: the immediate fate of the Indiana Pacers is in the hands of Kevin Pritchard. And the clock is ticking.