Paul George can make $73 million more on his next contract if he stays with the Indiana Pacers instead of leaving for another team — if he makes the All-NBA team this season.
Editor’s note: After getting more details of the new CBA, the article has been amended to reflect that.
If you were wondering why Paul George hadn’t signed an extension yet with the Indiana Pacers, there was a very good reason.
Over 73 million of them — if he makes the All-NBA team this season.
According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, the new collective bargaining agreement puts even more incentive on players staying with their teams. Under the “Designated Player” provision, teams can put up to 35% of their salary cap towards a veteran player, and extend their contract up to six years. There are certain qualifications, such as being on the All-NBA team according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe.
A player like Paul George is one of those players, but he must make the All-NBA team this season to qualify.
The Pacers can give Paul George $72 million more than any other team — if he qualifies.
As the Washington Post’s Tim Bontemps points out, this only applies to a few players right now.
Who can get it?
A player qualifies for the DPE, which can be used to give a player a contract extension or to sign him as a free agent, if he does one of the following:
1. He makes one of the three all-NBA teams or is named either defensive player of the year or most valuable player the previous season.
2. He has made one of the three all-NBA teams or has been named defensive player of the year in two of the prior three seasons or the league’s most valuable player in one of the three prior seasons.
And this crucial stipulation: He has to be on the team that drafted him or has to have been traded on his rookie deal to another team.
That means players like Stephen Curry, DeMarcus Cousins, Russell Westbrook, John Wall and Gordon Hayward are eligible for this exception, while Kevin Durant is not.
If this happens, Indiana can give Paul George more money in the first season of an extension that other teams could offer him in the fourth year of their contract, according to the math of the Indianapolis Star’s Nat Newell.
He has to make the All-NBA team, but right now that won’t be easy with the Pacers struggling and his numbers not impressing, even if he is playing better than before.
Even if he doesn’t qualify for the DPE, Indiana can still offer him more money than other teams when his contract comes to an end.
For the record, Paul George is set to make $19.5 million with the Pacers next season and then is expected to opt out of the final year of his deal.
For the TL:DR crowd: If he makes the All-NBA team this season, Paul George has more financial incentives than ever to stay with the Indiana Pacers. If Paul George wants to leave Indiana, chances are it won’t be because of money.
He can qualify for the DPE next season, but the numbers involved won’t be the same — they won’t be $73 million.
As long as things go as expected and the new CBA is ratified by both sides, the Pacers might have a big bargaining chip when it comes to negotiating with Paul George.