Paul George could headline a star-studded free agency class
this summer, alongside the likes of LeBron James, Klay Thompson, James Harden,
DeMar DeRozan and Jrue Holiday.
That is if George and the Clippers don’t agree
to a contract extension beforehand.
In the wake of George’s potential free agency, rumors have been swirling of teams such as the Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers pursuing the All-Star wing this summer. While the Sixers are projected to have in excess of $50M in cap space, the Pacers have the flexibility to re-sign Pascal Siakam and still offer George a max-level contract to possibly form a Big 3 led by Tyrese Haliburton.
While addressing the rumors after the Clippers’ win over the
Pistons on Saturday, George made it clear that his plan was to stay long-term in his
hometown team in Los Angeles.
“That’s the goal,” George said, via Sports Illustrated, when asked if he and the
Clippers were working on a contract extension.
George — drafted by the Pacers in 2011 — played seven seasons in Indiana before being shipped off to Oklahoma City in 2017. As wholesome as a George-Pacers reunion sounds, Steve Ballmer — the richest owner in sports — is reportedly determined to field a championship contender as his Clippers move to a new arena starting with the 2024-25 season.
In that endeavor, his front office recently signed Kawhi Leonard to a contract extension, and per several insiders, the Clippers plan to do the same with Harden and George later in the summer.
If Ballmer’s plan comes to fruition, the Clippers — already in the second tax apron — could be looking at a luxury tax bill north of $400M next season.