Paul George Says He Plans to Play Out Contract with Pacers Despite Trade Rumors

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJune 15, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 23: Paul George #13 of the Indiana Pacers reacts against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on April 23, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Cavaliers defeated the Pacers 106-102 to sweep the series 4-0. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Paul George told reporters Thursday he plans to play out the remainder of his deal with the Indiana Pacers before he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2018, according to the Indianapolis Star's Nate Taylor

"I'm a Pacer," George said, per Taylor. "I'm under contract for next season."

George is scheduled to earn $19.5 million in 2017-18. And while he has a player option worth $20.7 million for 2018-19, it's expected he'll decline it to secure a lucrative long-term deal on the open market as the salary cap continues to rise. 

With that timeline in mind, speculation has begun about the Pacers' trying to trade George before the 2018 deadline to pre-emptively recoup value in the event he bolts for a new team. 

As far as potential destinations go, George's hometown Los Angeles Lakers have been at the top of the list for months. 

In April, USA Today's Sam Amick reported George is "hell-bent" on joining the Lakers, whether it's through free agency or a trade. That came after Amick reported at the February trade deadline the message regarding George's desire to play for the Lakers "has been sent throughout NBA."

But as of early June, the Pacers didn't appear motivated to move George. 

Citing a Western Conference executive, Bleacher Report's Eric Pincus reported "the Pacers have yet to signal to teams that George is available."

That may change, especially once the 2017-18 season gets underway. But for now, both George and the Pacers appear committed to each other for at least one more year. 

      

Contract information courtesy of Spotrac.com

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