Paul George to leave Pacers after next season

NBA: Paul George's Future — Was Larry Bird Leaving Pacers a Clue?

NBA: Paul George's Future — Was Larry Bird Leaving Pacers a Clue?

That was the report from The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski on Sunday afternoon that sent the National Basketball Association world into a frenzy. Los Angeles would need to create salary-cap space in order to sign George next summer.

George can sign a four-year deal worth as much as $130 million with Los Angeles next year.

The Lakers have a few options to add the All-Star forward without trading for him. They're holding the cards, but also face the biggest predicament. But they would likely have to trade Kevin Love to get him. IN can offer him a five-year, $177 million extension as opposed to the four-year deal the Lakers are permitted to offer, but off-court endorsements could offset much of that difference.

It looks like George isn't going anywhere, no matter what the rumors are. LeBron James can become a free agent next summer. That's the part everyone will read into, unfairly discounting the fact that George seems to be in on in this upcoming season and wants to try to win while he's still there.

Free agency can be unpredictable.

They whiffed on LaMarcus Aldridge two years ago. It is unclear how robust those offers to IN will ultimately be, given that teams believe he will sign with the Lakers next summer. It hurt. It hurt that there were players that didn't see what a great opportunity it would be to play for a premiere sports team in the best market with the best fans in a top three building in the league. Without getting into specifics, George told reporters he believes the Pacers are close to challenging Cleveland in the East - if they can get better players.

George is scheduled to make $19.5 million next season.

Although George would constitute a significant acquisition for Los Angeles, the rebuilding Lakers do not now intend to part with any of their young assets in a trade with the Pacers, sources told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.

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