The rumors center around Pacers forward Paul George and began around the trade deadline when George's name was brought up in connection with several different teams. But there is no arguing both players are legitimate All-Stars in the National Basketball Association.
Eventually, Indiana won't want to risk losing George for nothing outright next summer. IN is hoping that he makes the All-NBA Third Team, which would allow them to offer him a massive extension that no other team could come close to matching.
Paul George is still a year away from being able to actually make his own decision in free agency.
The Pacers still can offer a five-year, $179 million deal. Those selections come from the Minnesota Timberwolves (lottery protected as early as 2018) and Cleveland Cavaliers (top-10 protected as early as 2019) but, even if both were included, the package would have to include at least two of Atlanta's own picks.
"I know I'm always gonna get those ties, I'm an LA kid".
The Hawks are at a bit of a crossroads during the 2017 offseason and things could go in a number of directions. The full breakdown of the All-NBA teams is below.
Paul George had another stellar season with the Indiana Pacers this year. Unless Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard is active in free agency this summer and provides his star player a supporting cast, George could make clear that he is seeking greener pastures.More news: Ruthless Kane helps Spurs thrash Leicester 6-1
George can opt out of his contract after next year. IN has the flexibility to offer him the most money if he re-signs with the team.
Mitch Lawrence of Sporting News said this in April of George's future: "A SoCal native, [George] has been talking about playing for his hometown team, the Lakers, for a long time".
There are some parameters around the deal that are understandable, particularly the stipulation requiring a player to remain with the team that drafted him.
George, 27, just wrapped up his third season of a five-year, $91 million contract.
According to Nat Newell of the Indy Star, with the DPE, George could sign an extension with the Pacers worth approximately $212 million over six years.
Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers also did not qualify for the designated veteran extension.