Report: Paul George Close to Signing?
by Scott Agness
September, 23, 2013
Editor's Note: This story is ongoing and is being updated as events unfold. Last update: 5:50 PM.
Late Sunday night, Yahoo! Sports reported that Paul George and the Pacers are finalizing a contract extension worth $90 million-plus over five years. Monday morning, Marc Spears of Y! tweeted the following quote from George:
Not so fast, says Pacers president Larry Bird. While at the Brickyard Crossing for the Pacers annual golf outing, he said a deal is not done yet. When asked whether the reported terms were accurate, Bird said, "I never heard that number. I wish it was my number instead of [Paul's]."
George reiterated the same message.
“We’re close,” he said. “But nothing’s done yet, nothing’s finalized.”
Although a new deal isn't complete just yet and George hasn't signed on the dotted line, everything is expected to be resolved this week.
"I know Paul's worth," said Bird. "I'm not banking on what's going to happen in the future, even though you do somewhat. It's what he's accomplished now and that what we'll go off of.
"It's always good to have the leverage but the number has got to be a number we both like. And that's what it's all about. It's all about money. Yes, he wants to be here. He's told me that a million times. We want him here so let's just find a number that works for both."
The Pacers president said that while others were golfing on a beautiful September day, he was headed back to the office – for obvious reasons.
“I’ll do the golfing part then,” George volunteered, which drew laughter.
George said back in July that he hoped to come to terms on a new deal before camp opens (Sept. 28).
"I would love to have something done going into the season just to take my mind off that and really get to practicing and focusing on getting better this summer," he said after participating in USA Basketball mini-camp. It would be ideal if I could get it done going into training camp."
Bird, a Hall of Famer, completely understands George's mindset.
"Well back when I played, if they brought me in and was talking to me, I wanted to get it done before camp," he said. "So I know it's important. Security is always the best thing to have in this league."
George is not only appreciative of the organization, but also the city, which suits the 23-year-old’s personality.
“I love it here,” George said. “I love the teammates that I have here, the organization, everybody here has been instrumental part of my growth.”
With a new contract, there's more to it than just the length and value of the deal. There's all the legal items, player or team options, and more that goes into it.
Said Bird: "If you come to the number first, then all the other things sorta fall in place."
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