Indiana fans and team officials breathed a huge sigh of relief on Wednesday when Pacers All-Star Paul George squelched rumors that he would take his talents elsewhere after his contract expired following this upcoming season.
George, who is entering the final year of his contract, assured fans he is not going anywhere.
"(A long-term contract) is going to get done," George told The Indianapolis Star. "There will be a deal signed and sealed on the table before the season. We're (George and Pacers management) on the same page."
The chance that George leaving was a long shot even before he made his announcement on Wednesday. The Pacers would have been able to match any offer George received and the team had indicated they would match any offer.
George, a Palmdale, Calif., native who still lives in Southern California in the offseason, was asked in July about playing for the Los Angeles Lakers and having Kobe Bryant recruit him to play side-by-side.
"Of course it would be tough (to say no to Kobe)," George told ESPN Radio. "You're talking about playing (at) home."
On Wednesday, George doused any chance of playing for the Lakers.
"No," George said referring to leaving the Pacers. "Honestly, I love it here. I want to be here. It's a great place. There are no distractions. I can stay focused. It's all about basketball here. I can stay focused and do my job."
The 23-year-old George was the 10th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. This past season he was named the Most Improved Player in the league as he compiled 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game while becoming an All-Star.