The NBA announced its All-NBA teams on Thursday, and one big name was missing: Indiana Pacers forward Paul George.
George had an All-Star season for the Pacers, but the potential ramifications of not making an All-NBA team could be huge.
By not making any of the three teams, George lost out on an extra $70 million that the Pacers could have extended him via the Designated Player Extension (DPE).
The DPE is part of the new CBA agreed upon by the NBA and players in December. The extension allows teams to offer players who have made an All-NBA team or won an individual award like MVP or Defensive Player of the Year five-year extensions worth 35% of the salary cap. Additionally, these extensions can have annual raises of 7.5% compared to the four-year contracts, worth 30% of the cap, with 4.5% yearly raises that other teams can offer.
The rule is meant to keep superstars on their original teams, but in the case of George and the Pacers, it may have the opposite effect.
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. Another team could offer approximately $123 million over four years.
However, with George not making an All-NBA team (and unlikely to win any individual award), the Pacers’ financial advantage in re-signing George – he’s expected to opt out of his contract and become a free agent in July 2018 – has disappeared.
Rumors of George leaving the Pacers have already circulated, with USA Today’s Sam Amick reporting February that George is “determined” to join his hometown Los Angeles Lakers if the Pacers are not competing for a championship. The Pacers were swept by the Cavs in the first round and have few ways to improve their roster this summer, meaning championship contention is likely not on the horizon.
Many in the NBA world believed that if the Pacers could offer George the DPE, it would be difficult for him to turn down so much money (the goal of the rule). However, the DPE contained problematic criteria from the jump – it put George’s future in the hands of the media. Select media members vote on All-NBA teams, which essentially put George’s future earnings and his future with the Pacers on the line.
Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward also didn’t make an All-NBA team, thus putting his future with the team in doubt.
Perhaps money would not have been part of George’s consideration. Perhaps the Pacers would have traded him before he could leave anyway, just to ensure they get something in return. However, the Pacers’ biggest advantage in re-signing George (though they can still offer more money than other teams) is gone, and they’re going to have consider his future a lot sooner than perhaps expected.