Indiana Pacers forward Paul George said on Friday that while he wishes to be a key part in bringing an NBA championship to Indiana, he was hesitant to officially guarantee that he will sign a contract extension.
The Pacers are expected to extend George’s contract to an estimated $219 million in July, which sounds like it would leave the All-Star in a secure place. However, George was reluctant to put anything in stone when speaking to ESPN Radio’s Marc Stein on “Meet The All-Stars”:
“As I told Larry [Bird, Pacers president], I always want to play on a winning team. I always want to be part of a team that has a chance to win it [all]. That’s important.”
George has been vaguely ominous when it comes to his future plans with the Pacers, which lead some to assume he could be planning on leaving the nest to purse a championship with a team who he believes has a legitimate chance at securing a ring:
“Say what you want; I want to compete for something. It’s frustrating just playing the game for stats or for numbers or to showcase yourself. Man, I want a chance to play for a chance to win a championship.”
Back in January, Bird had expressed to The Indianapolis Star that his goal to keep George on the team is a long term one.
“Before the year started, I told Paul and I said: ‘Look, if you want to sign a long-term deal, we’re willing to do that max. And if you want to wait, I understand.’ But this year, we’re not going to worry about it, we’re not going to talk about it, and he’s going to make the decision that’s best for Paul when it comes down to it.”
While George has two seasons left on his contract, he has the right to opt out of the second year and become a free agent in 2018.