Tag Archives: paul george

Paul George Trade Rumors Day 4

This page will be updated throughout the day with the latest Paul George rumors with the most recent news at the top.

This article states the 27, 28 picks plus either Clarkson or Randle remains the Lakers offer, but Pacers have yet to accept. Teams remain at a standstill at this point.

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The best offers are the suspected to be most likely suspects by league executives. The Celtics, Lakers, and Cavaliers all known to be making plays for George.

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Even with the willing to wait talk from earlier today, it would be surprising if the Pacers dragged this out past draft night tomorrow.

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https://twitter.com/thevertical/status/877698401160151040

This could be an opportunity for the  Cavaliers to see if Phoenix is interested in Kevin Love and make it a 3-team trade to get Paul George, or (less likely) the Suns may want Paul George.

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Cavs still trying to get George, while Amico reports that Pacers are still hoping to get a deal done by draft night, which contradicts the reports that they’re willing to wait. 

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Kravitz joins the Indy Star’s Nate Taylor in reporting that Pacers are willing to wait this out in hopes of better offers.

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Here’s a bunch of possible deals the Pacers could try and pursue for George. More added with five new teams today.

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Kevin Arnovitz says the Trailblazers have the best package to offer George, but this doesn’t mean that Portland has made an offer to this point. The Trailblazers have 3 first round picks at 15, 20, and 26 which are all better than the two Lakers picks on the table.

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On The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski podcast, Woj gave a lot of information on the current trade of the trade market for Paul George.

Woj said the Pacers are not very enthusiastic about any of the Lakers young guys like Randle, Russell, or Clarkson, which explains at least one reason why the Pacers haven’t accepted the 27, 28 picks plus Randle or Clarkson for George at this point.

The Pacers believe they can get a better deal than what the Lakers are currently offering. Woj says there is a lot of action and a lot of teams trying to get involved in talks with the Pacers.

Pritchard has done a good job of building up a market from Sunday to now when other executives were telling Woj that the Pacers would only be able to get a mid-to-late first rounder and a decent expiring contract. “They’re going to get more than that,” said Wojnarowski.

Woj speculates that some teams think they’ll be able to flip him at the deadline after acquiring him and that many mid-to-large market teams will be interested.

Woj states that the Pacers aren’t looking to “do right” by George or do any favors for the Lakers, but they are going to take the best possible deal available for them.

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In non-Paul George news, Lance Stephenson announced that he will be wearing his number 1 once again next season.
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Nate Taylor reports that a trade isn’t imminent currently, but that the Pacers expect the offers to improve tomorrow on the day of the draft.

One of Taylor’s sources said that George’s value will only decline if the Pacers don’t find a deal during draft night. He says the Pacers, however, do not feel rushed to make a deal and could wait until training camp. Among the teams that Kevin Pritchard is talking to include the Cavaliers, the Rockets, and the Lakers according to Taylor.

The Lakers offer of the 27th and 28th picks in the first round plus either Julius Randle or Jordan Clarkson would have to improve greatly to be acceptable for the Pacers according to Taylor.

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If you missed anything from yesterday, here’s everything that went down.

Paul George Trade Rumors Day 3

This story will be updated throughout the day with the latest Paul George news, most recent at the top:

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Click here for today’s updating rumors page.

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Rumor mill will surely keep churning until the deal happens.

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Lakers tried to get the two Kings top-10 picks for the 2nd pick so they could send one to the Pacers, but Kings said no. This lines up with the report from earlier today that 2nd pick could be in play if a third team got involved.

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Pacers and Lakers at a standstill on the Randle or Clarkson and 27 and 28 for George. It still seems likely Pacers find a deal before the draft.

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Stein is now reporting that Lakers are trying to get George for two late first rounders and either Clarkson or Randle.

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There will be no DeAngelo Russell for the Pacers in any deal as the Lakers get rid of the Mozgov contract by shipping them both to the Nets for Lopez and 27th pick.

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Jimmy Butler has told the Bulls that he wants to remain with the team and doesn’t want to go to Cleveland, which may help the Pacers convince the Cavs to further pursue George.

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This whole time the Lakers have said they aren’t getting rid of number 2 pick or Ingram, so this is a pleasant surprise for the Pacers, though it is unclear how a third team would help the teams reach a deal at this point.

The Lakers could want an early first round pick to replace their lost number 2 pick. Reports earlier said they were trying to acquire one. The Pacers may want another young prospect and may not want any Lakers that they are willing to give up.

Here is one interesting fan suggestion that may work.

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Schultz is saying that George will be moved soon, which differs from reports earlier today.

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The Pacers and the Lakers are officially talking deals. No word on details yet. Stein confirms that the Pacers have also talked with the Cavaliers, Clippers, Wizards and Rockets so far.

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The Pacers reportedly tried to get the Warriors and the Cavaliers in a bidding war with each other, telling each team that the other was interested.

This story also says that several league executives expect this saga to last a long period of time and potentially drag out into the season, because many teams won’t be willing to offer more than a good player and a second-round pick. Deals that Pritchard would not be willing to take.

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Here’s some hypothetical deals the Pacers could try to pursue for George.

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In other Pacers news, it seems that Lavoy Allen is expecting his team option to be declined by the Pacers.

If you missed anything from the past couple of days, you can find it here.

Some realistic and unrealistic trades for Paul George

Paul George trade rumors are still in the early stages where it’s mostly speculation, but many teams have been reported to be interested. If you’ve missed any of the rumors so far, you can find them all here.

The iPacers.com team (Derek Kramer, Ross Blauvelt and Joe Betz) decided to put together some realistic deals that Kevin Pritchard and the Pacers may be able to pull off before Thursday’s draft. Some more realistic than others.

Mavericks

Pacers get: Wesley Matthews, Seth Curry, 9th overall pick
Mavericks get: Paul George

Kramer: Zach Lowe speculated that the Mavs may push for a George deal centered around the number 9 pick. Mark Cuban has long been on the search for a superstar for Dallas ever since winning the championship back in 2011. Pacers could wind up with Yogi Ferrell instead of Curry if the Mavs were unwilling to give him up.

Cavaliers & Kings

Pacers get: 10th and 34th overall picks, Aaron Afflalo
Kings get: Kevin Love
Cavaliers get: Paul George

Betz: Cleveland does it to get PG without sacrificing more than Love; Sacramento does it to keep their main lottery pick and get a star player to begin their culture shift from losing to winning; and IND does it to gain a mid-late lottery pick plus an early second to accelerate the rebuilding process. Afflalo’s time on the floor will be limited with King’s expected pick at 5, so his contract is dumped to the Pacers.

Bucks

Pacers get: Greg Monroe, Malcolm Brogdon, 17th overall pick
Bucks get: Paul George

Kramer: The Bucks haven’t even been rumored to be interested in one-year of George, but imagining Giannis and him playing together would have to seem pretty appealing to Jason Kidd and the Bucks. This deal is only possible if Greg Monroe opts-in his player option for next season. The Pacers would have just one season of Monroe and pick up a promising young guard in Malcolm Brogdon on a cheap second-round pick contract as well as the 17th pick in Thursday’s draft.

Lakers

Pacers get: DeAngelo Russell, Larry Nance Jr., 28th overall pick
Lakers get: Paul George

(Update: Russell has been traded to the Nets)

Betz: Lakers do it to acquire Bird rights on George now, prevent any contender from convincing George to stay and move on from Russell with Lonzo Ball; Pacers do it to acquire a new point guard should Teague not be re-signed, a young-ish PF on a good contract, and a late first. FWIW: I would rather have Russell and Nance than the rumored Clarkson and Randle, but that’s just me.

Pistons

Pacers get: Ish Smith, Boban Marjonovic, 12th overall pick
Pistons get: Paul George

Kramer: Pacers get a solid backup point guard and the tall guy from Big Fish to go with the 12th overall selection that could net them someone like Donovan Mitchell. Pistons take the year rental on George without having to give up too much.

Trailblazers – Option 1

Pacers get: Allen Crabbe, Noah Vonleh, 15th overall pick
Trailblazers get: Paul George, Al Jefferson

Blauvelt: Pacers help Portland out by taking the Crabbe deal and the Blazers help Indiana out by taking on Big Al. Pacers get back a young prospect in Vonleh and the 15th pick in the draft. Blazers get one year to convince him to stay with a killer lineup of Dame, CJ, and Nurkic.

Trailblazers – Option 2

Pacers get: Crabbe, 2 of their 3 first round picks (15, 20, 26)
Trailblazers get: Paul George

Kramer: If the Pacers aren’t interested in Vonleh and are okay taking on Crabbe’s contract, the Pacers could pick up two first round picks that are better than either of the Lakers first rounders that they are currently offering (27, 28). If there are multiple players available near 18 on draft night that the Pacers like, this deal could be even more appealing.

Nuggets

Pacers get: Gary Harris, Kenneth Faried
Nuggets get: Paul George, Lavoy Allen

Blauvelt: The Pacers could try and get the Nuggets to add the #13 pick to the deal, but they haven’t been interested in George now that he’s actually on the block even though they made an offer at the deadline. This deal gives the Pacers a rebounding-focused power forward to pair with Myles Turner and starting shooting guard to replace CJ Miles. Lavoy Allen could be included in Nuggets were interested, if not the Pacers have the option of declining his $4 million team option.

Rockets:

Pacers get: Eric Gordon, Patrick Beverly, future first-round pick
Rockets get: Paul George

Kramer: This could be a trade more appealing to the Pacers if they intend to retool instead of rebuild. The Pacers get Eric Gordon to start at shooting guard after a great year in Houston and a defense-first point guard in Patrick Beverly. The Rockets GM Daryl Morey gets a second superstar to go with MVP-candidate James Harden and after signing his extension, he may feel safe enough to take the big risk on convincing George to stay.

76ers:

Pacers get: Dario Saric, Robert Covington, Gerald Henderson, lottery-protected future first-round pick
76ers get: Paul George

Kramer: The 76ers are close to being done with The Process after acquiring the number one overall pick in the draft. George could help the team get to the playoffs and beyond on a much faster timeline. This may be more than the Sixers are willing to offer for George (Henderson is only included as to match salaries and his contract of $9 million is only guaranteed for just $1 million), but if the Sixers want to try and make an instant success after years of tanking, this could be their ticket. If the 76ers don’t want George, you could see if they’d be interested in a Kevin Love 3-team deal as well though that seems unlikely with Simmons at PF.

Magic:

Pacers get: Evan Fournier, Mario Hezonja, future first-round pick
Magic get: Paul George

Kramer: Perhaps George’s former coach Frank Vogel thinks he can convince George to stay in Orlando past this season and the Pacers manage to get this haul from the Magic. They probably would have the option of taking a horse that does horse things over Hezonja (Game of Zones).

Paul George Trade Watch Day 2

Kevin Pritchard and the Pacers are still actively looking for a trade partner for Paul George after he told the team that he intends to leave next year and sign with the Lakers in free agency.

Here’s a rundown of all the rumors coming from yesterday:

And here’s everything from today to this point:

The Pacers are still discussing with the Cavaliers, but Cleveland is also looking for a way to get Jimmy Butler and their GM David Griffin just resigned after not getting an extension and having some disagreements with ownership about future of the franchise. While the Cavaliers are looking for a replacement, they are still talking to teams about potential trades involving Kevin Love, which would likely be the centerpiece going from the Cavs in any potential George deal, most likely with a 3rd team involved.

Even though George’s agent is telling teams that he’ll only be a rental and won’t commit to signing with anyone other than the Lakers, several teams have been confirmed to show interest. Other teams that have been confirmed by reports to be interested include the Los Angeles Clippers, the Houston Rockets, the Portland Trailblazers and the Washington Wizards. With the Clippers and Wizards, it may have to involve sign and trades which wouldn’t happen until free agency. The Pacers are said to be wanting to find a trade before the draft on Thursday. Zach Lowe also speculates that the Mavericks could build an offer around the 9th pick, but he’s not reporting that they’re actually doing so at this point.

 

David Aldridge is reporting that the Pacers are looking for two first round picks and a starter for George, though that will be hard to come by with George’s agent making it clear that he intends to sign with the Lakers next season no matter where the Pacers trade him.

https://twitter.com/Schultz975/status/876893713590624257

Other news from the Lowe Post: One team that made an offer at the deadline, but will not be pursuing George now is the Denver Nuggets. The Boston Celtics will not be offering the number 3 overall pick for George. Lowe did say they can put together a package of Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, and Avery Bradley and still maintain enough space to sign Gordon Hayward if Danny Ainge is so inclined.

Lakers are expected to be more open to trading for George if things heat up for a contender in a potential deal, but reports are that they will not be willing to part with more than Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and the 28th pick in this year’s draft. This isn’t saying that they’ve offered this to the Pacers yet, but that it would be the ceiling for what the Pacers could receive from the Lakers. Randle and fellow Laker DeAngelo Russel share an agent with Paul George and many speculate that the agent is trying to keep all three players in Los Angeles.

The Vertical is reporting that the Lakers definitely won’t give up Brandon Ingram or the number two pick in the draft, but that the package above could be possible. He says Paul George would prefer to play out this year with the Pacers rather than play for another team next year before leaving for the Lakers.

In other news, the Pacers were reportedly going to be targeting Danilo Gallinari and Jrue Holiday before the George told them he was leaving. Scott Agness is reporting that many in the organization were surprised and that the plan was to get the team back to the Eastern Conference Finals with George leading the way.

Also, the Pacers are now considering starting Lance Stephenson at point guard next season for the rebuild, because of his work so far this offseason in losing 10+ pounds and being in great shape. This would signal the likely end of Jeff Teague’s brief tenure in Indiana as well if he still had interest in signing with the Pacers after the George announcement.

 

Woj: Pacers searching for trade partners for Paul George including the Cavaliers

Earlier today, The Vertical dropped the Woj bomb to end all Woj bombs on Indiana: Paul George has told the Pacers organization that he intends to leave after next season and wants to go to the Lakers.

Woj is also reporting that Pacers newly promoted president Kevin Pritchard is already looking for trade partners outside of the Lakers.

The Lakers are reportedly not interested in giving up any young assets to acquire George, understandably since they know he’s coming their way next season at no cost to them beyond the cost of his contract.

Pritchard may be trying to build up offers from other teams before speaking with LA with no leverage of other potential deals. One of the teams that Woj is reporting that the Pacers have spoken with is the Cleveland Cavaliers. No word on what the Cavs are offering at this point.

Pritchard is in a near impossible situation, but he knows at this point he has to find a trade for George, whatever the best deal may be. The Pacers faithful will not be anxious to attend games this season to watch a future Laker compete for a Pacers team that he no longer has in his future plans. It’s hard to imagine that the Pacers locker room will be a joyous place to be around all season with a star that has already started walking out on them before the season has even begun.

It’ll be interesting to see what teams are willing to make an offer and for how much for one-year of a superstar. The Nuggets and the Hawks reportedly make deadline offers but they may be much less inclined to make an offer now and are very unlikely to give up the same amount of players and assets that they originally offered in February.

Nate Taylor of the Indy Star reports that the Pacers heard the news from George’s agent yesterday and it was a complete surprise. The Pacers were fully expecting to build around George this season, but now they have no set direction just a few days before the draft.

Woj: Paul George informs Pacers he plans to leave team after next season

The Vertical is reporting that George has told the Indiana Pacers of his intentions to leave, preferably to the Los Angeles Lakers, in order to give the Pacers time to prepare for their future that will likely be without him.

This is a drastically different message then what Paul George told the Indianapolis media at a charity softball event just a few days ago, saying that he still wants to win a championship for Indiana, but wants help to do so.

George saying that he wants to go the Lakers does not give the Pacers any leverage to make a deal with another team as they will also expect that George will leave them in free agency after this season.

This doesn’t give the Pacers any good options in this scenario. It’ll be hard for fans to come out and cheer for George this season when they know he’s planning to leave, and the Pacers end up with nothing in return for their superstar. The Lakers are unlikely to offer much of anything of value because they’ll have the cap space to sign George this upcoming offseason.

This also doesn’t make the Pacers an appealing free agent destination if they know George is on his way out. The unlikely possibility of Gordon Hayward coming home is even more unlikely now. Even Jeff Teague may reconsider whether he wants to play for his hometown team knowing they may have to rebuild once George is gone.

Paul George on his future: “For Indiana, I want that ring.”

Paul George has been a hot topic for discussion as a potential star on the move especially after not making an All-NBA team last season, and tonight the Indianapolis media got a rare off-season chance to ask him questions about his future at the 9th Annual Caroline Symmes Celebrity Softball Challenge that has numerous current and former players for both the Colts and Pacers compete every year. 

Everything that George said tonight is consistent with every other time he’s spoken to the media about his future in the last year or so. George said expects to be an Indiana Pacers player through next season and play out the rest of his contract. He still wants to win in Indiana and still wants some help to do so.

“I’m a Pacer,” said George according to Nate Taylor of the Indy Star. “There’s no way around that. This is my team, my group, and this is where I’m at.”

While the text here doesn’t make George sound enthusiastic about being a Pacer currently in these quotes, it’s likely that he’s sick of all the speculation and rumors about where he’s going when he still has a full year before he’ll be making that decision of whether to stay or whether to leave.

George is still talking about wanting to bring a championship to Indiana and win for the team that drafted him.

“I am all about trying to make this team better,” said George according to Tricia Whitaker of CBS4 Indy. “For Indiana, I want that ring. I need some help to get that accomplished.”

“It’s all about bringing a championship to Indiana,” said George.

The burden to get that help for George is on recently promoted President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard. George said he and Pritchard are on the same page after meeting with him the day after his promotion and that he’s pleased with the hire.

“His mind is in the right place in terms of players I want to play with and be around,” said George of Pritchard. “It’s going to be tough, as it would be anywhere to attract players so we’ll see how we shape this team up.”

Pritchard’s approach seems very different than Larry Bird’s infamous “He don’t make decisions around here” stance when the Pacers wanted George to play power forward, and George already seems to appreciate feeling like he’s a part of what Pritchard is trying to do and being kept in the loop. George wasn’t happy about not knowing anything about the trade rumors at the deadline, and Pritchard has made an immediate effort to repair George’s trust with the front office.

Pritchard will be looking to figure out a way to make a splash in free agency or via trade that will get the Pacers back to competing in Eastern Conference Finals. Don’t be surprised to hear if the Pacers are at least looking for a meeting with a free agent like former Butler star Gordon Hayward, especially when George has praised his game in the past.

“I love being a part of what he’s trying to do from day one,” said George. “We established a great relationship.”

Actually pulling in a player like Hayward or someone of similar caliber will be easier said than done for Pritchard as the Pacers will have limited resources available if they intend to re-sign Jeff Teague and CJ Miles. Finding takers on the contracts of both Monta Ellis and Al Jefferson is one of few potential options of freeing up cap space, but the Pacers are unlikely to find any suitors on the old veterans without a draft pick attached to the deal as well.

If George makes an All-NBA team this season, he’ll still qualify for that enormous extension that only the Pacers can offer him, so George has an extra motivation to not be traded this season.

George, who had previously stated that he felt like he played well enough to make one of the All-NBA teams this season, said that he won’t play the “political game” when it comes to the All-NBA teams and that he knows he needs to be better next season to make one of those teams.

https://twitter.com/schultz975/status/875477492706013188

The constant trade rumors and speculation about George’s future will remain a constant until next off-season when George opts out of his current contract and becomes a free agent.

“They’re all crazy,” said George about trade rumors, “but they’re all expected.”

After the finals, the television talking heads and some journalists have talked or written about the idea of George being traded to the Cavaliers as a kind of counter to the Warriors acquiring Kevin Durant last off-season. None of them seem to consider the Pacers will make a decision based on their own interests and likely won’t even consider dealing George to their division rival that already is the best team in the Eastern Conference.

And George says he doesn’t have any plans on speaking with James about his future.

“He’s been a huge influencer for me outside of the game,” said George, “but we don’t communicate and figure out where one another’s going.”

At this point, it seems highly unlikely that the Pacers will be trading George during the off-season. Zach Lowe, Brian Windhorst, and Ramona Shelburne each recently said on Lowe’s podcast that they had heard the Pacers weren’t looking to trade George currently from their own sources, and George isn’t currently demanding one either. As George said, they’re on the “same page.”

If the Pacers do start looking to trade George, it will likely be because they failed to add any new pieces and George then requests a trade, or the season isn’t going as planned at the deadline next year and the Pacers decide he’s likely to leave and to get whatever they can before losing him for nothing.

For the fans in Indiana, it’s still a game of wait and see. There will just be a lot of rumors and speculation about George’s future until the day comes.

In the meantime, let’s try to just enjoy Paul George.

 

Paul George didn’t make an All-NBA team, so now what?

Earlier today, the All-NBA teams were announced. This was an important event for the Pacers franchise as they found out whether Paul George would qualify for the new Designated Player Extension that would allow the Pacers to extend George to a significantly larger contract than he would be able to get from any other team if he chose to leave in free agency after next season.

Unfortunately for George and the Pacers, George didn’t even come close to making one of the three All-NBA teams. George finished with 40 points from the voting, while Jimmy Butler grabbed the final forward spot with 102 points. Draymond Green was the other third-team forward and finished with 134 points as he was boosted by his positional versatility that garnered him many votes as a center.

So, now that the Pacers have lost this key tool to potentially convince George to stick around by signing an extension this summer, what do they do now?

Meet with Paul George and his agent and have the most important conversation in franchise history. According to the Indy Star, George is expected to mull over his options this weekend before meeting with the Pacers, so this is already in the works.

Pritchard should start with the obvious question when the meeting takes place: are you really hellbent on joining the Los Angeles Lakers? George’s agent spread the rumors that it was Lakers or bust to NBA GMs near the deadline this season, but this could have just been a tactic to prevent his client from being traded and losing any possibility of the super-max contract through the DPE. This kills the Pacers leverage in any potential deal if true as teams will be very reluctant to offer much in a trade for George if it’s just a single season rental and if you’re the Lakers, you don’t want to give up much if you think he’s just going to join your team as a free agent anyway.

Sidenote: I’ve never fully bought the Lakers narrative despite the rumors, the heavy recruitment from Jimmy Kimmel and the winks from Magic Johnson. Sure, George is a guy from California and a huge Kobe Bryant fan, but he’s also said multiple times in the past that he grew up a big fan of the Clippers. The Lakers are also a very bad team right now. George has said repeatedly that he wants to win and get back to those days of competing in the conference finals and presumably farther than that. His path to contention with the current makeup of the Lakers doesn’t scream instant success.

The Lakers in that loaded western conference would still be a star player or two away from having a shot at contending with George added to the roster. There’s no guarantees that any of their young guys or whoever they take at the number two pick will eventually be a star, and does George really want to wait for them to grow up during the prime years of his career? It would make a lot more sense for George to want to go to a team that is already in contention.

Kevin Durant didn’t leave the Thunder to join a rebuilding effort. He left to create perhaps the most talented super team of all time with the Golden State Warriors. LeBron James didn’t abandon Cleveland to start from scratch; he teamed up with his Team USA friends to win championships. Does he really want to go to Los Angeles just to sell more shoes and visit Kimmel’s late night show on the regular? It’s hard to see him wanting to go to LA if he wants to win in the near future.

Anyway, if George wants to leave and it actually is only to the Lakers, the Pacers are screwed as long as his agent keeps letting everyone know about it. A team desperate for a star may still make an offer thinking that they can woo him to stay in that one season (Sixers, Hawks, Nuggets and Suns all either made offers at the deadline and/or have been trying to get a star player for awhile), but it’s unlikely to garner much in return for the Pacers compared to a situation where George was open to re-signing to a team that traded for him other than the Lakers.

George tweeted and deleted this reply with no text to a Bleacher Report article earlier today that mentions that the Celtics should trade the number one pick for someone like George or Butler if they can according to Paul Pierce. It likely means nothing besides George reads Bleacher Report articles sometimes, but it nevertheless caused a frenzy of freak outs on Twitter. If this really was a signal that George was ready to leave, it would at least say he was open to other teams besides the Lakers.

I don’t think George wants to leave Indiana empty-handed. George does keep saying how he loves Indiana and that it’s a great place to play basketball. He has to know that he’ll be vilified if he simply walks away in free agency, leaving the Pacers with nothing but memories.

If George does want to go, hopefully he’ll be upfront about it and give the Pacers an opportunity to get something in return. If he’s actually open to signing with other teams than the Lakers, and as long as the agent stops telling NBA GMs otherwise now that he didn’t qualify for the DPE, the Pacers have the opportunity to create a bidding war among teams to get as good of a deal as possible.

It’s also possible, though no one in the NBA world seems to think so, that George wants to remain in Indiana, even after not making an All-NBA team. He’s got a signature shoe and a bunch of endorsement deals. He’s not really suffering by playing in a small market, and the Pacers so far have played LeBron James and the Cavs better than anyone else in the East to this point.

George could also still potentially qualify for the DPE after next season if he makes an All-NBA team, and if he plays like he did from the beginning of March through the playoffs throughout the next season, he’s easily making one of those teams. If George really does want to surpass Reggie Miller in terms of legacy in Indiana, have his number in the rafters like the press release for his Tamika Catchings PG1 colorways said and that big contract is something he wants an opportunity to earn, then the Pacers could take the huge risk of going into this season with that plan in mind.

If the wheels fall off during the season and the team is struggling or George can’t match his play from the end of last season, the Pacers could look to trade George at the deadline if it becomes clear he’s leaving. There are obvious risks here, and the Pacers would have little leverage in any potential deal at that late point, but this is also the only scenario that has the chance of a guaranteed star on the Pacers roster past next season.

 

 

For one playoff game, the Pacers were last year’s Warriors, 3-1 lead included

The Indiana Pacers had the full 2016 NBA Finals experience from the Golden State Warriors perspective in just one playoff game against LeBron James.

They were the Falcons in the Super Bowl up 28-3. They were the Cleveland Indians up 3-1. In a year of historic collapses, the Pacers had their own.

There was no championship at stake for the Pacers tonight, but that doesn’t mean this game lacked importance with their season and their future still on the line. Every playoff loss could potentially make Paul George more likely to leave which would change the outlook of the franchise for years. 

The Pacers looked like Golden State in the first half scoring a team record for the playoffs with 74 first half points and holding the Cavaliers to only 49. A 25-point lead at halftime that was as high as 26 points that would ultimately be their equivalent to Warriors’ 3-1 lead.

There was so much dope stuff happening for the Pacers in that first half that it was hard to keep track of it all:

  • Myles Turner had perhaps the greatest play of his career when he dunked all over Tristan Thompson at the rim. The slow-motion video should be on display in a museum. Turner looked a man on a mission to rebound from his poor first two games of the series. Blocking shots, picking off passes and looking aggressive offensively.
  • The Pacers shot 57% in the first half while holding the Cavaliers to just 37%.
  • Paul George had 23 points in the first half and nearly outscored the Cavaliers in the second quarter by himself (21 for George, 22 for Cleveland)
  • Lance Stephenson was roaring on every defensive rebound and pushing the pace like a runaway freight train, hitting threes, setting up others for quick buckets and making the crowd about as amped as they’ve ever been.
  • Kevin Seraphin played like a man possessed. Scoring on LeBron, blocking Kyrie, posterizing Kyle Korver after an offensive rebound, scoring a nifty layup on a sweet assist.
  • Thaddeus Young beat the Cavaliers to the ball too many times to count and finished nearly every shot he took.
  • Larry Bird was water sippin’ that Kinetico finest. No looks of disappointment. No frustrating head shakes or curse words from the legend. Life was good.

Then we all know what happened next. The Pacers lost their 3-1 lead and saw LeBron in all his glory as he finished with a 41/12/13 line. The Pacers suddenly became cautious, tentative and quit pushing the pace and doing what made them successful in the first half. It’s like the came out in the second half and immediately wanted to milk the clock.

“We came out relaxed,” said George of the third quarter. “We got away from what the first half was about.”

As the Cavaliers got closer and closer, every Pacers primary ball handler besides Paul George, who finished with 36 points, 15 rebounds and 9 assists, seemed timid with the ball. Stephenson passed up open threes, Teague was slow to get the offense moving throughout the half. Thaddeus Young kept fighting for rebounds, but the Pacers simply couldn’t finish. The Pacers went from shooting 57% in the first half to only 40% overall for the game.

Cleveland meanwhile woke up offensively and hit what seemed like every open three they took. LeBron did LeBron things. Paul George grew frustrated with the refs and Nate McMillan got a rare technical foul. Perhaps, the Pacers agruments with the refs was the Draymond suspension.

The Pacers pushed the lead back to 20 points with four minutes left in the third quarter, but were outscored 52-27 from that point forward. The Pacers scored only 40 points in the second half after scoring 37 points in each of the first two quarters.

Somehow Monta Ellis played about six minutes in the fourth quarter in the game that he was finally benched from the starting lineup, because McMillan decided starting the game didn’t work with Monta, so let’s try finishing it with him? Little about it made any sense, especially as many of the minutes were shared with Jeff Teague, a pairing that had been outscored by 10.9 points per 100 possessions in the first two games. It would be shocking if McMillan keeps his job after the series at this point.

The Cavaliers found a lineup that the Pacers had no answer for on defense in the fourth quarter as they forced Myles Turner to stay on Channing Frye on the perimeter as LeBron took easy strolls into the lane for layups after beating his man with no one able to protect the rim and no one able to stay in front of him. LeBron sucked all life out of the arena that had so recently been as alive as it had ever been.

Paul George Named Eastern Conference Player of the Week

Indiana Pacers fans have known Paul George’s importance and dominance all year long and on April 10th, Paul was awarded the NBA Eastern Conference Player of the week for April 3-9. You can see some of his highlights below. Someone seems to be hungry for the All NBA selection.

Paul averaged 31.7 points per game (top in the East for that week), shooting 57.4 % from the field while the Pacers went 3-0 with wins over the Raptors, Bucks, and Magic. This is Paul’s first Player of the Week this season and 1st since Nov 30th last season. This doesn’t even include his 43 points against the Cavs.

While many want to chalk the Pacers current success on the return of Lance “Born Ready” Stephenson, it has been the consistent and dominate performance from Paul George that has carried this team. Lance may have lit a fire under Paul but it’s Paul George’s determination to make the playoffs that has shined through.

Really since early March, Paul has played with intensity and a fire. Many times, that is all you need to win NBA games. Just have the best player on the floor. Think back to the Raptors playoff series last year.

In the month of April 2017 alone Paul has averaged 30+ ppg, 8+ rbs, and 4+ assists per game in 5 games. He has a strong chance at wining player of the month award as well. Which he again hasn’t done since November of last season. It’s a great time for PG to turn on the playoff mode while the Pacers ride his hot streak and a 4+ game win streak hopefully deep into the playoffs.

Lowe: Pacers have a way to rid themselves of player options for Stuckey, Ellis

Zach Lowe of ESPN wrote a column on the Indiana Pacers earlier this week that highlights the Paul George situation and looks ahead to the very interesting summer that awaits the Larry Bird and the franchise.

One thing that Lowe said didn’t make his column that he shared to Ramon Shelburne on his podcast, the Lowe Post, was a unique situation that the Pacers have with three contracts currently on the books with player options: CJ Miles and Rodney Stuckey’s options for the 2017-18 season and Monta Ellis’s option for 2018-19.

Details at around the 47:00 mark if you want to listen. Explained below as well.

Lowe says that the Pacers could waive any of those three players before the regular season is over and their player options would go off their books for the salary cap next year (This would apply for next season for Ellis since his player option is for 2018-19). Lowe says that it’s believed that these are the only three contracts like this in the entire league where the player options essentially vanish if the players are waived before the regular season ends.

This means that if the Pacers desired they could waive Stuckey before the regular season is over, and it would essentially be like he declined his player option for next season. This only works if the Pacers waive him before the regular season ends, otherwise Stuckey gets to choose whether or not to accept his player option. If the Pacers actually waived him after the regular season ends, Stuckey automatically gets the $7 million player option and it counts against the Pacers salary cap.

Miles is on an incredibly cheap, team-friendly contract at just $4 million per year, so the Pacers won’t be looking to get out of his contract early by ditching one of few players currently on the roster that can space the floor, and Miles is almost guaranteed to decline his option and cash in in free agency this off-season. The Pacers would like to keep him, but it will cost much more than he’s currently making.

Lowe doesn’t think that the Pacers would release Stuckey before the season even though he said the Pacers would probably like to not have that $7 million on their books and even looked for ways to move him at the deadline (reports that a Stuckey for John Henson deal was discussed). Lowe’s main reasoning is that it wouldn’t look good to Paul George if the Pacers were getting rid of a rotation player before the playoffs.

Stuckey, however, was replaced in the rotation by Aaron Brooks during the Pacers’ last game after many straight poor performances from Stuckey, who has struggled playing backup point guard while paired with Ellis. If the Pacers like what they see from Brooks as the backup point guard for the rest of the season and Stuckey remains out of the rotation, Bird would probably be much more likely to consider this course of action.

Stuckey and Ellis have always been redundant to the roster as poor-shooting slashing guards and removing the possibility of Stuckey, who has also struggled with injuries while with the Pacers, returning next year and opening up an additional $7 million in cap space (Pacers will have about $20 million in cap room if Stuckey accepts his option) could help Bird tremendously as he tries to improve the roster into a contender this summer that will convince George to remain in Indiana.

The Pacers could be better off this year going with just a guard rotation of Jeff Teague, Miles, Ellis, and Glenn Robinson III and leaving out both Stuckey and Brooks completely as they both are poor fits with Ellis coming off the bench. The minutes that Brooks or Stuckey have been getting could easily be split among Robinson, Miles and George, especially as the starters get heavier minutes in the playoffs.

It seems unlikely that Stuckey would be missed this season if the Pacers let him go, but if George is a big fan of Stuckey, Bird could be hesitant to let him go before the playoffs. That $7 million would certainly help the Pacers this summer as they try to convince George to stay however. It is possible that Stuckey declines his option this summer anyway as $7 million is a relatively low total compared to the crazy deals players are signing in free agency now, but he seems to like the team and city, and it’s probably unlikely he would get more from another team this off-season. He may be able to get a similar yearly value, but more than just the one year he has remaining if he does decline.

Lowe thinks that it’s more likely that the Pacers could look to waive Ellis before the end of next year’s regular season if he continues to decline and if the Pacers aren’t very good next year. Monta’s player option is for $11 million for the 2018-19 season and the Pacers should be jumping at an opportunity to clear that contract off the books a year early. We’ll have to wait and see what Bird decides to do when the time comes for both Stuckey and Ellis.

Paul George’s signature shoe showing up everywhere

Paul George has joined exclusive company.  In Nike’s 44-year history, fewer than 1% of their endorsed athletes get their own signature shoe.  The PG1 sneakers debuted earlier this year but were not available for purchase until March 3rd.  Since the shoes released close to two weeks ago, they have received glowing reviews from his NBA peers.

Big props from Jared Dudley:

Superstar Dwayne Wade got his pair autographed:

Teammate Jeff Teague sporting his pair:

Players and fans have not been disappointed with the PG1’s.  Aside from aesthetics, have the shoes impacted George’s play on the court?  To the delight of Pacers fans, there is an uptick in the production of PG-13 since the sneakers were released on March 3rd.

Season Averages:  22.2 PTS – 45% FG – 38% 3PT – 6.4 REB

Since the sneakers:  28.3 PTS – 55% FG – 45% 3PT – 8.4 REB

In the 7-game stretch since the PG1’s were released, George’s numbers have a noticeable improvement.  The team however has alternated wins and losses, going 4-3 over the period.  Maybe everyone needs to rock the pair that PG gave each teammate. It certainly is helping former Pacers player Solomon Hill in New Orleans as he put up a career high 30 points wearing the shoes.

George Hill, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Jrue Holiday are other NBA players that have been wearing the PG1.

March Madness has seen a couple of college players lacing them up as well.

They were not good luck for the Villanova player, however, as they fell to Wisconsin and broke brackets everywhere.

The Paul George Situation: Should the Pacers be worried?

As the trade deadline was approaching, most Pacers fans expected some smaller moves to be made by the team. Some bench help to keep Paul George happy perhaps.

The Pacers were shopping around their 1st-round pick since it will be in the late teens, early twenties range, and the expectation was that maybe they’d do a similar deal like last year’s draft day acquisition of Thad Young from the Brooklyn Nets.

Then, seemingly out of the blue, the quiet rumblings of Paul George being traded started to become loud shouts. Pacer and NBA fans were glued to Twitter to see what would happen at the Deadline.

This was shocking to the Pacers fan base that has consistently been told that Paul George was not on the market and essentially untouchable. But now the Pacers may trade him? Why would they even consider this? And are some Pacers fans actually on board with getting rid of the superstar?

Let’s break it down the situation and bear with me, this is a bit long.

The Contract:

Paul George’s current contract runs through the 2018-2019 season, but that last season is a player option for George. PG is making $18.1 million this season, and $19.3 million for next year.  Because of the huge increase in the salary cap in the past few seasons (from $70 million in 2015-2016 season to $94 million currently), Paul George will definitely opt out of his current deal after next season and become a free agent as the cap continues to rise.

If for some reason he did keep his player option for that last year, it’d be $20.7 million. Luol Deng and Evan Turner are making more than $18 million per season in this cap climate. It would be a complete shocker if he opted in.

For his new contract (wherever it will be) Paul will fall under the 7-9 year player max bracket or 30% of the cap. So for instance in 2018 he could make $30.6 million for that season. (Up from the 20.7 million he’d make if he doesn’t opt out) Also there is the Designated Player Exception in the new CBA for star players drafted by their teams trying to re-sign them and prevent them leaving like a few stars have in recent years (Durant). Players can sign a 5-year extension on their current deal with their original team, while all other teams have only a max of four years to offer a player in free agency. So the Pacers would get to offer another year of security and $30+ million more than any other team.

(Here comes the math) Per Nat Newell of the IndyStar on Dec 15 2016 in his article entitled What does the new CBA mean to the Pacers and Paul George? The league calculates max salaries from a slightly lower figure, roughly $96 million off the cap of $102 million (2018-2019). Another team would be able to start an offer to George at 30 percent of that figure – $28.8 million. The other team can offer a 4.5 percent raise each season: $30.1 million, $31.4 million, $32.7 million for a total of $123 million over four seasons.

The Pacers can offer an extension on George’s $19.3 million contract for 2017-18. If George qualifies for the DPE: The 35 percent offer would be $33.6 million in year one of the new deal (3.5 million more than another team). They can offer 7.5 percent raises over five years: $36.1 million, $38.6 million, $41.1 million and $43.6 million for a total contract of six years, $212.3 million.

In other words, the Pacers can pay George more in year one than another team can pay him in year four. The Pacers would be able to offer $26.4 million more over four years and $70 million more total over 4.5 seasons. More in raises and more each year if he stays. But, PG needs to qualify for the DPE first.

For Paul to qualify for the new DPE he has to have on his resume either a MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, or one of three All-NBA teams the previous season he signs. OR been on All NBA/DPOY in two of the previous three seasons, or MVP once. We all know he has never been MVP or DPOY but he has made All-NBA teams. All-NBA 3rd team in 2013, 2o14, and 2016. 2015 being the season lost due to the broken leg injury.

That leg injury could end up costing PG a lot of money since he needs two All-NBA teams in three seasons. So two of three in these years: 2015, 2016, or 2017. Paul has to make an All-NBA team this year to qualify and chances right now are slim. Go through the Forwards in the NBA right now LeBron/Kawhi, Durant/Green, Butler/Hayward, along with guys like Millsap, Anthony Davis now at the four spot because of the Boogie trade, Melo? The top six spots will be tough to crack for George this season. Even with an injury to a top player like Durant, it’s going to be a challenge.

This should make the Pacers worried. They will no longer have that trump card to offer an extension to George this off-season and would have to hope that he qualified next season before he becomes a free agent.

If he doesn’t, then the field is more level between what Indiana can offer and what all the other teams can offer. I asked Steve Kyler from Basketball Insiders on Twitter what the Pacers can do if PG doesn’t land on an All-NBA team.

Basically the Pacers have some room to play. They can offer slightly larger annual raises and an extra contract year but that normally is minimal when we’re talking this kind of money with the cap on the rise each season. The same advantages home teams have wasn’t enough to get Durant to stay in OKC either.

The biggest card the Pacers have is to convince Paul to pick up his player option in 18-19 then they’ll increase his salary next year (renegotiate the team cap) in 17-18 by $11 million or the amount he would get if he signed a new contract under the new CBA cap.

Re-negotiation on this front by adding more years (up to the 2018-19 season) would also put Paul into the 10+ years veteran bracket when this new contact is done, which makes him entitled to 35% of the cap then and even more money. Paul was drafted in 2010 so his 2019-20 contract would fall under the 10+ year vet.

Kyler feels if the Pacers keep PG and are not able to re-sign due to the DPE requirements, it’s a Kevin Durant situation all over again. Not enough money in the end to matter when the situation for a finals run isn’t there.

The Pacers then have two options with George without the DPE:

  1. Trade him.
  2. Try and re-sign him, but risk him leaving for nothing.

Option 1: Trade Paul George. Many different times that this could potentially happen before he hits free agency. You could do it during off-season, closer to the draft once you know everyone’s draft order, or wait until next year’s trade deadline. There is the threat too however of teams knowing he won’t resign with the Pacers so they won’t offer very much to trade for him when they know they can just wait till he’s a free agent.

If Paul doesn’t want to stay, then the Pacers have to get something for him without seeing him walk for nothing. The argument though has been brought out that wouldn’t your star employee be more involved in how the business is run if he truly is your future? It didn’t seem to be the case during the deadline.

The Pacers would only trade Paul George if they KNEW he wouldn’t re-sign with them AND the deal for him was massive. Think more on the level of Carmelo Anthony trade than DeMarcus Cousins (thank goodness the Pacers are not the Kings). So maybe all these rumblings this deadline was to get a feel for PG’s market value?

Rumor is Pacers ownership wanted to test the waters to see PG’s value and Larry Bird swatted away any true offers. It was going to take a massive offer to make him pull the trigger this year.

The deadline revealed that the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers, and Boston Celtics were all interested in Paul George. So many options out there but so long to go before any of them could happen that we’ll save the analyzation of potential deals for another time. But I’ll just leave this little tweet here that does not help the Pacers leverage situation if they do end up trading him down the line.

There are limited teams out there with the assets to trade for Paul let alone be in the mix for a championship as was discussed earlier. Paul is 26 and his prime is right now. He doesn’t have the time to sit through a 5-year rebuild (which makes the Lakers a curious choice for him). If the Pacers trade him, it needs to be a team he’ll want to re-sign with who he views as being in an immediate contending situation for the Pacers to get the best possible deal.

Option 2 – Re-sign PG. The Pacers preferred option, but one that also includes the risk of him leaving for nothing. Remember this is if Paul George doesn’t end up qualifying for the DPE and the money difference is minimal. The Pacers want to keep him obviously. It all comes down to the Pacers individual cap space and how much Paul does love the situation in Indiana. He could end up going to another team and leaving the Pacers with nothing in return, and after watching Kevin Durant do that to the Thunder last summer, the Pacers will do everything they can to prevent that from happening to this franchise.

The Pacers do have some things going in their favor: PG does want to bring a championship to Indiana and has said in the past that he wants to be bigger than Reggie Miller here. But George added the caveat that he wants to contend for a title like when they were in the Eastern Conference Finals two straight seasons. That’s the biggest key to this puzzle if the Pacers want to re-sign him without the DPE: building this team into a contender quickly. Bird will his work cut out for him this off-season as he tries to get this team out of mediocrity and back into the business of challenging LeBron in the East.

You don’t need to be in a major market to have a ‘brand’ and George has proven that already. Paul has his PG1 shoe coming out from Nike. He’s one of only four players to have a signature shoe deal with Nike (Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving). His other partners include Gatorade, Papa John’s, Fanatics, FanDuel, NewEra, Bass Pro Shops, and 2K Sports. All from little ole Indiana.

Salary cap space won’t be an issue that they have to worry about. Right now, the Pacers team payroll is around $87 million (cap at $94 million and rising for next year). With Free Agents Aaron Brooks and Jeff Teague (re-sign please). A few players have team options: Lavoy Allen, Joe Young and Glenn Robinson III. Some have player options: Stuckey and CJ Miles. You will have to watch a few of those guys walk but you’ll still have the space left to sign both Teague this off-season and PG next season if need be.

It should be a very interesting next year in Naptown as Bird tries to build a roster to that can convince George to stay or trades away his superstar as a new era begins for the Pacers.

Top 10 Indiana Pacers Dunks in a Slam Dunk Contest

You may be curious after watching Glenn Robinson III’s amazing Saturday night in the Dunk Contest how many Pacers have ever competed, let alone won, a dunk contest in the past besides Trey Dog (who I incorrectly gave only a 20% chance to win). Over the 31 years of the contest including one ABA, seven different Pacers in addition to King Glenn III have competed in the NBA Contest. Zero in the one year the ABA had their contest in 1976 before the merger. Pacers ABA legend Darnell ‘Dr Dunk’ Hillman won the first NBA dunk contest in 1977 but it was a very different season-long contest back then. All 30 teams had a representative and competed one-on-one in a bracket like challenge. Until last night, Dr. Dunk had never received a trophy for the contest, but did get a check for around $15,000.

Here’s my ranking of the top-10 dunks by a Pacers player in the dunk contest:

Let the countdown commence. And feel free to let me know where I’m wrong on Twitter @TheCorner3Ross.

#10 2013 Gerald Green: The Double Dunk

He didn’t complete it till after his buzzer so it didn’t count but the idea was impressive: cut off the net, dunk, catch the ball with the other hand, and dunk it again, all in the air during one jump.

#9 2012 Paul George: Larry Bird Sticker Dunk

Slap a sticker on on end of the backboard and dunk on the opposite end. Points for the prop. Nothing fancy on the dunk. PG took more attempts than he had stickers unfortunately.

#8 2001 Jonathan Bender Left-Hand from the Foul Line

For how long he is, it should’ve been from further away. Sadly like much of Bender’s career, his performance was a disappointment. At least he didn’t get hurt!

#7 2012 Paul George Glow-in-the-Dark Dunk

He should’ve just done it with the lights on in my opinion. This is one of the dunks that Vince Carter did in his iconic 2000 Slam Dunk performance. And as @its_whitney brought out on Twitter, he should’ve had a glow-in-the-dark ball to wrap it all together.  #MissedOpportunity

#6 2012 Paul George dunk over Roy Hibbert. 

Hibbert is 7’2″. Yes, Roy ducked a bit and PG used his hand but still impressive nonetheless. Originally Dahntay Jones was throwing a pass to George, but he couldn’t get it completed.

#5 2013 Gerald Green Off the Side of the Backboard

Lance Stephenson’s always looking for an easy assist, and no one dunks with ease and force like Gerald Green.

#4 2017 Glenn Robinson III Over PG, Boomer & a Pacemate

Over one All-Star, one mascot, and a cheerleader backwards slam. It clinched him the contest.

#3 2014 Paul George 360 Through the Legs

In my opinion, this should have won him the best dunker crown in this strange conference battle dunk contest.

#2 2004 Fred Jones bounce alley-oop reach back

The Dunk that won him the contest and made him the first Pacers player to do so. Thank goodness he threw himself a terrible pass that made this dunk awesome.

#1 Glenn Robinson III’s 2017 Opening Dunk

Left hand over two people while his head almost hits the rim. Just nuts. I hope there is a shirt with this on it soon. He earned every bit of this championship. Way to go, King Glenn III.

Just missed the cut: All of Terence Stansbury’s dunks (there are some really good ones), GR3’s 360 Dab Dunk, Kenny Williams, and Antonio Davis. (Videos below of some of their dunks)

A brief history of Pacers past performances in the dunk contest:

The very first Pacer in the Dunk contest came early in 1985 & 1986 Terence Stansbury. He competed two years for the Pacers and one for Seattle. He made the Semi-Finals both times with the Pacers but lost out to Dominique Wilkins at home in Indianapolis in 1985 and Spud Webb the following year in 86.

1991 saw Kenny Williams compete for the Pacers in Charlotte for the Dunk Contest. Kenny would not make it out of the first round finishing 5th overall. The overall champ that year was Dee Brown of the Celtics.

Now we get into some names most fans remember. The next Pacer to compete was a Davis brother. Antonio Davis in 1994. AD didn’t make it out of the first round either, finishing 5th. Maybe being ‘penalized’ for being the big in the group. The champ that year was Isaiah Rider.

Oh what could have been for the next Pacer contestant: the Pre-Durant, Durant style player. In 2001, Jonathan Bender competed for the Pacers. His length and versatility should’ve equated to amazing things on the court, but Bender’s knees never cooperated for very long. Bender didn’t make it out of the first round either, finishing 5th (I’m seeing a pattern here). The champion that year was Desmond Mason.

All these 5th place finishes. Would a Pacer ever do well in this contest? In 2004, with a field of four players, the Pacers Fred Jones showed that he could. In maybe one of the weaker dunk contests to date, Indiana Jones bested the two-time defending champ Jason Richardson for the title spot with two 50-point dunks on his way to victory.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m very proud of Fred Jones but maybe the voters were tired of J-Rich.  But a W is a W. There has only been one 3-time champ at the Dunk Contest and that was Nate Richardson. So J-Rich had an uphill battle.

The next time we saw a Pacer in the Dunk Contest was Paul George in 2012 under a new format. Paul George competed twice (again in 2014). The champ would be decided entirely by fan voting this year. PG came out strong with dunks over Roy Hibbert (7’2″). Followed by his glow-in-the dark jersey dunk (would’ve been cooler in the light) and ended with the sticker on the backboard other side of the rim dunk.

Sadly the fans voted incorrectly. As they normally do when given the power for the All Star Game (I’m looking at you Zaza Pachulia). PG unbelievably finished only 3rd with 24% of the vote. Brief former Pacers bested George in the fan vote: Jeremy Evans got 29% and Chase Budinger got 28%.

In 2013 Gerald Green competed in his third contest with his third team. An impressive alley-oop off the side of the backboard from Lance Stephenson followed by an ambitious dunk he wasn’t able to put down. He cut off the net so that he could dunk the ball, catch it with his off hand and dunk the ball again. He wasn’t able to complete it and scored low, unable to advance. The winner that year was Terrance Ross.

Paul George would come back two years later in 2014. Again though, the NBA tweaked its format. A team format was adopted. 1st round was freestyle followed by one-on-one battles. PG was teamed up with the East consisting of Terrence Ross and John Wall. The East won the night but John Wall was voted as the Dunker of the Night (by the fans).

Finally this year, I hope most of you were able to watch. 2017 Glenn Robinson III wanted to #Shocktheworld and man did he do so. While the competition wasn’t the same level as years past, Glenn capitalized. With Aaron Gordon fizzling out in the first round and Glenn scoring a 50 with his first dunk. He was easily into the final round and sealed the deal jumping over three people in an impressive fashion, bringing home the Pacers second-dunk title and a nice $100,000 for his victory.

Pacers dunkers are a combined 2-9 all time in the contest. We’ll see if GR3 comes back next year to defend and become the first Pacers Dunking Dynasty.

Paul George should be VERY happy with the new CBA

A new CBA agreement was tentatively reached last night between the NBA and the NBA Players’ Union. One new detail in the agreement will likely affect Paul George and the Pacers as they try and come to an agreement on an extension to keep George in Indiana next summer.

It will allow teams to designate one veteran player that has achieved certain criteria as a player (Zach Lowe reports that at least one of these will be making an All-NBA team) and offer that player a contract extension that is 35% of the Salary Cap in year one of the extension (30% if he leaves as a free agent with another team) and allows the contract to extend up to 5 years in addition to the one year remaining (4 years is max as a free agent with another team). It also allows the Pacers to increase the salary by up to 7.5% per season, while other teams would be limited to only 4.5% increases.

This amounts to a huge increase for Paul George and other star players like DeMarcus Cousins and Russell Westbrook that will be looking for new contracts in the near future.

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders broke down what it would look like for Paul George if he signed an extension under this provision next summer and compared it to what a potential deal would look like if he choose to leave.

Home teams certainly have a lot more money to throw at stars to encourage them to stay and to avoid free agency with the extension now than they ever have. Here’s what Kyler reported George’s contract would roughly look like.

This is big news for small markets that are increasingly losing their marquee players in free agency, and it couldn’t come at a better time for the Pacers and their fans as Paul George is locked in for $19.5 million next season (2017-2018) and is expected to opt-out of his contract in the summer of 2018 to become an unrestricted free agent.

 

 

 

 

Paul George gets a banner outside of Banker’s Life Fieldhouse

The Pacers revealed a Paul George, Nike banner outside of Banker’s Life Fieldhouse today a few hours before the 76ers and Pacers square off.

“Shhhhh My Game Is Talking” is on the banner as well as “Come Out of Nowhere.”

Perhaps this banner will coincide with whatever Nike has planned for advertising George’s signature shoe that is rumored to be released sometime next year.

Our Paul George T-shirt sale ends soon! Get $2 off by using the links in these tweets!

Paul George kicks ball into a fan’s face, gets ejected

No, for real. This happened. Late in the third quarter after being called for a foul, Paul George kicked in the ball in frustration and it hit a young woman in the face in the stands.

George immediately went over to the young woman, apologized and gave her a hug, but the damage was done as George was ejected from the game. It looked as though George was likely trying to kick the ball against the stanchion, not into the crowd.

“My soccer skills are not as good as I thought,” joked George after the game, who said he apologized and was trying to kick the ball on the mat of the stanchion.

Fortunately, the outcome of the game was not in jeopardy as the Pacers are ahead by over 20 late in the fourth quarter at the time of this post.

Here’s video of the play.

Here’s the apology.

Update: The person hit by the ball was actually a Pacers employee, Lindsey Yeager, working with the television crew for Fox Sports Indiana according to Nate Taylor of the Indy Star.

Update: Paul George also sent the woman flowers to apologize. A classy gesture.

Paul George reaches out to French gymnast, leads USA in scoring against Venezuela

Paul George has played well in Team USA’s first two Olympic contests, averaging 17.5 points in games against China and Venezuela, and he’s also been trying to reach out to French gymnast Samir Ait Said, who broke his leg while competing in the vault.

“At some point, I am going to go over and have a chat with him, sit down with him,” said George, who also mentioned that tentative plans fell through for a visit on Monday. “Try to be an inspiration to him. I know what it’s like going through it. Hopefully the advice I give can be useful.”

George certainly feels for a fellow athlete that suffered a similar injury to his own devastating setback.

“I know it is tough as an Olympic gymnast, “said George. “Their window is just as small as ours. He’s probably been training his whole life for this. I’ll be in his corner.”

Meanwhile on the court, George is flourishing in his role off the bench in his first Olympic experience. He led USA in scoring against Venezuela with 20 points and only needed 7 shots to get to that point.

He’s played point guard for stretches and as a small-ball four (which never happened with the Pacers last year). Coach K has utilized George as his Swiss-Army Knife, and George has taken the few opportunities that come his way on offense and capitalized on them.

He had the highlight of the game against Venezuela with a slam dunk.

Off the court, Paul George has never been seen without wearing his Pacers hat while in Brazil.

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Coach K: Paul George is “playing the best basketball of his life”

Team USA easily won their exhibition contest against Argentina tonight with a final score of 111-74. Kevin Durant led the team in scoring with 23 points, while the Pacers Paul George added 18 points on 7 for 11 shooting with 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals.

Coach K has been very impressed with George’s performance through the process.

“I think he’s playing the best basketball of his life right now,” Coach K said after the exhibition.  Continue reading Coach K: Paul George is “playing the best basketball of his life”

Paul George will still be PG-13 with USA Basketball

USA Basketball officially announced its roster for the 2016 Rio Olympics early this morning. Here’s a look at the 12-man roster that includes Indiana Pacers star Paul George:

They’ve also reassigned each player a number from 1-15 per tradition of USA Basketball (also might be a rule of Olympics for all teams). So, what number did Paul George, who was wearing 29 when working out with Olympic team in the past, pick or get assigned? 13 of course, and the jerseys are 🔥🔥🔥 (fire for those of you without emojis).  Continue reading Paul George will still be PG-13 with USA Basketball