The NBA regular season is just about over, and media members will soon have to vote on a variety of awards before the start of the playoffs on Saturday. But this year, the voting results could determine if Indiana Pacers star Paul George will land an extra $70 million thanks to a clause in the new collective bargaining agreement.
The Designated Player Exception was added to the latest CBA in an effort to entice players to re-sign with their teams by paying them much more than other teams could offer. If a player approaching free agency on his second contract is named MVP or Defensive Player of the Year, or makes an All-NBA team while either playing for the team that drafted him or that acquired him while on his rookie contract, the team is permitted to sign that player to a max contract extension well above what he’s designated to make for his service time, as the Washington Post explained.
George could be the first player to face this decision. The Pacers All-Star small forward could become an unrestricted free agent next summer unless the two sides agree on an extension. Indiana might have to pay much more than originally expected if the 26-year-old makes one of the league’s three All-NBA teams.
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If that does occur, George would be in line to receive an extension worth more than $200 million this summer, roughly $70 million more than he normally would earn for his years in the NBA. The Pacers reportedly dangled George before this year’s NBA trade deadline, and the four-time All-Star expressed his frustration that the team didn’t keep him “in the loop” as the rumors swirled.
Many believe George is interested in leaving the Pacers next summer when he becomes a free agent and possibly joining his hometown Los Angeles Lakers. If the Pacers have the ability to go beyond just the extra year teams are permitted to offer their free agents and give George an additional 70 million, would that be enough to keep the two-way star in Indiana?