The Indiana Pacers and Paul George have agreed to a reported five-year maximum contract extension worth approximately $90 million. Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports first reported the news on Sunday, Sept. 22:
UPDATE: Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 10:40 a.m. ET
From David Benner of Pacers.com:
Paul George officially signs extension with Pacers Wednesday morning. pic.twitter.com/TUtSGEwDKh— David Benner (@PacersDMB) September 25, 2013
Paul George and Larry Bird with new contract in hand. pic.twitter.com/xf0XxsXtHc— David Benner (@PacersDMB) September 25, 2013
The Pacers announced the extension on their official website and passed along statements from Paul George and Larry Bird:
The Indiana Pacers announced Wednesday they have signed veteran guard/forward Paul George to a multi-year contract extension. Per team policy, no terms of the contract are revealed.
"I want to thank the Pacers for believing in me when they drafted me,” said George. “To continue my career with the Pacers was a very easy decision. We have great ownership, a great front office, great fans and I’m blessed with great coaches and great teammates. I use great a lot because that is what this franchise is and I’m hopeful we can be part of great things in the future.”
"Paul represents not only what our team and franchise is about, but what a professional athlete should be,” said President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “He strives every day to be the best he can be, as a player, as a teammate, as a person and as a representative of this franchise."
---End of update---
UPDATE: Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 4:45 p.m. ET
From Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star:
Source confirms the Pacers have signed Paul @Paul_George24 to a new long-term contract. Presser tomorrow.— Bob Kravitz (@bkravitz) September 24, 2013
---End of update---
"A deal is expected to be signed this week, league sources told Yahoo," their report states.
One of the NBA's brightest young stars, George is coming off a fantastic third season in which he averaged 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.8 steals per contest. The dynamic forward was named the Association's Most Improved Player in addition to receiving All-NBA Third Team and All-Defensive Second Team honors.
The 23-year-old was a first-time All-Star in 2012-13 and was a major contributor in the Pacers' run to the Eastern Conference semifinals, where they fell to the eventual NBA champion Miami Heat.
Did Paul George deserve a max contract?
Eyebrows were raised at the Pacers brass in a mostly negative way when the franchise selected George 10th overall out of Fresno State in the 2010 draft, but he's repaid the organization's faith and investment in a huge way.
At 6'8" and 221 pounds, George presents very unique problems to opponents. He has the athleticism to guard any perimeter position, can stretch the floor with his improving jump shot, and is an excellent rebounder and solid passer as a swing man.
He was entering the last year of his rookie deal and would have been a restricted free agent in the 2014 offseason, per Spotrac.com.
The Pacers should be a viable threat in the Eastern Conference yet again, with a nucleus featuring George, big men Roy Hibbert and David West, point guard George Hill and the return of Danny Granger from knee injury.