Report: Pacers remain ‘optimistic’ about retaining Paul George long term

Despite Paul George’s frustration with the Indiana Pacers’ current season, the franchise remains hopeful it will retain him long after this season.

According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, the Pacers believe they can keep George on board for years to come thanks to a new rule that is just about to be implemented.

“Sources close to the situation say Indiana remains optimistic that the new Designated Player Exception will allow them to retain George long-term, assuming he makes one of the All-NBA teams this season,” Kyler writes.

This new rule is the same one that could make it impossible for any NBA team to lure Stephen Curry away from the Golden State Warriors (more on that here).

Based on an assumed salary cap of $108 million in 2018-19 when George will be playing out the final year of his current deal, the Pacers could pay him up to $219 million over the course of five years. Another team hoping to lure him away couldn’t come close to that figure, per Pro Basketball Talk, which pegs their best offer at just over $139 million over four years.

There is a rather large caveat to all this, of course. In order for George to qualify for this tremendous boost in income, he’d need to make the NBA’s All-Pro team this year, per Kyler. By no means is that a given, considering the incredible competition in the NBA at the small forward position.