Indiana Pacers’ president Larry Bird wants star forward Paul George to remain in Indiana, and he is willing to shell out the cash necessary to make it happen, according to Nate Taylor of The Indy Star.
“We want Paul here and we know what it’s going to cost and what it’s going to take,” said Bird. “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.”
However, Bird stressed that he does not want to talk about any extension during the season and mentioned that George probably wouldn’t either.
“I know he don’t want to talk about it all year and I don’t either,” he said.
George declined to discuss the situation. However, he could give an update during the team’s media day on Monday.
The two sides have had talks before, and while George said that the conversations were a step in the right direction, no deal was close to being reached. The 26-year-old George is under team control for the next two seasons before a $20.5 million player option for 2018-2019.
Obviously, the Pacers would like to lock him up before that becomes an issue a couple of years down the line.
The veteran forward averaged 23.1 points and seven rebounds per game and was selected to his third All-Star Game during the 2015-2016 season, a year after a gruesome leg injury that sidelined him for most of 2014-15. Perhaps most importantly, George was able to play in 81 games on rather heavy minutes – 34.8 minutes per game.