And even though Indiana's leverage will drop as George gets closer to free agency, Miami has the 14 pick in this year's draft and then can not trade another first rounder until 2023 because of already having dealt its 2018 and 2021 picks.
Obviously, a championship is in the back of his mind - but also being happy while he plays has to be on his priority list.
Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan was a premier free agent last summer and it was widely believed that he would return home to succeed Kobe Bryant as the Lakers' next star.
Why? Well, under the current CBA, there's a clause called the designated veteran extension, which depends on a player making an All-NBA team in the year before he signs the extension, or in two of the previous three years.
George finds himself more focused on legacy than ever. Will George tell the Pacers he won't be staying, and thus force a trade now?
That puts the Pacers in danger of losing George for nothing after this upcoming season, especially if in fails to contend for a title.
"(The Lakers) are pretty confident and have a great deal of belief that they're in position to get Paul George in 2018 whether he stays in IN or is traded elsewhere", the scribe reported. Other teams can only offer George a maximum of four years at roughly $130 million.
"So many great players, so many players had great seasons", Durant said. Essentially, now 2 players per team if meeting a certain criteria, and still on the team that drafted them, are eligible for massive 5-year contract extensions.
George, 27, will enter the final year of his contract next season before he can opt out next summer.
So, in effect, the Pacers lost a great deal of their leverage over George by the in star missing out on the All-NBA teams. 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. Another team could offer approximately $123 million over four years.
"We would really like him to become a Laker", Kimmel said. There has been speculation that the Pacers may test the trade market for George because they risk losing him after next season.
George has been prominently linked with the Lakers, his favorite team growing up, and the Boston Celtics.style="text-align: center;"