Score Strip

  1. League: NBA
  2. Indiana vs. Orlando
    :05.4 3rd
    74 IND
    62 ORL
  3. Chicago vs. Charlotte
    10:18 4th
    67 CHI
    61 CHA
  4. Washington vs. Boston
    10:08 2nd
    40 WAS
    35 BOS
  5. Houston vs. New Orleans
    9:24 2nd
    35 HOU
    30 NO
  6. Brooklyn vs. Cleveland
    9:05 2nd
    31 BKN
    37 CLE
  7. Philadelphia vs. Miami
    9:44 2nd
    34 PHI
    33 MIA
  8. Atlanta vs. Milwaukee
    8:24 2nd
    33 ATL
    44 MIL
  9. Utah vs. Minnesota
    7:33 2nd
    39 UTA
    28 MIN
  10. Toronto vs. New York
    10:35 2nd
    34 TOR
    21 NY
  11. LA Lakers vs. San Antonio
    6:25 2nd
    42 LAL
    39 SA
  12. Detroit vs. Oklahoma City
    8:34 2nd
    35 DET
    31 OKC
  13. Dallas vs. Memphis
    10:18 2nd
    26 DAL
    31 MEM
  14. Golden State vs. Denver
    10:30 PM
  15. LA Clippers vs. Portland
    10:30 PM
  16. Phoenix vs. Sacramento
    10:30 PM
  17. View All

Pacers hope to sign George contract before season

AP - Sports

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Paul George has no intention of leaving the Pacers.

Larry Bird is spending most of his time these days trying to sure Indiana's budding star sticks around for the next few years.

The team president left Monday's annual Pacers Foundation golf outing before the others teed off so he could continue negotiating a long-term deal to keep George in town.

''We're talking, but we've got a ways to go. That's where I'm going now, back to work,'' Bird said.

George, Bird's first-round pick in 2010, has made significant strides each of the past two seasons. He went from bench contributor as a rookie to full-time starter in 2011-12 to his first All-Star game appearance last season, when the Pacers fell one win short of reaching the NBA Finals. Last season, George averaged 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists during the regular season, and was even better in the playoffs while also emerging as one of the league's top defenders.

His reward was being named the most improved player in the league last season and working out the last two summers with USA Basketball.

There has been speculation Lakers star Kobe Bryant might try to recruit George, a Los Angeles native, to help reinvigorate one of the league's most prominent franchises. But George doesn't appear to be going anywhere.

''I know Paul wants to be here, he's told us that a million times, and we want him to be here,'' Bird said when asked if George's comments could cost him some extra cash. ''But you know a kid's worth and it comes down to what he's accomplished on the court.''

How much will it take? That could be the $100 million question.

There's little doubt the Pacers will offer a max contract to prevent George from becoming a restricted free agent next summer when his rookie contract expires. Yahoo! Sports reported Sunday night that the two sides were nearing agreement on a deal for five years and $90 million.

On Monday, Bird denied anything was imminent.

''I've never heard that number,'' Bird said. ''But it's not just getting a number, it's getting the insurance and all the other things in order, too. I would say that if you get the number worked out first, everything else usually falls into place.''

A year ago, Indiana locked up All-Star center Roy Hibbert and point guard George Hill with long-term deals. This summer, they re-signed power forward David West, traded for Luis Scola and revamped the bench with the signing of free agents Chris Copeland, Donald Sloan and C.J. Watson.

The next two priorities are re-signing George and guard Lance Stephenson, who thrived in a starting role last season. Stephenson also could become a restricted free agent after the season.

And they still have former All-Star swingman Danny Granger on the roster, too.

Their improved depth is one reason the Pacers are considered the biggest threat to Miami's three-year reign as Eastern Conference champs.

''There's no doubt we've got a great core here with Roy and George (Hill). David West will be here and hopefully, Lance and Danny will be here for years to come, too,'' coach Frank Vogel said. ''But when you have Paul as one of your core pieces, that's a pretty good place to start.''

Granger's health is the biggest question heading into training camp. He missed all but five games last season because of a left knee injury, though Bird said Monday that Granger has ''looked pretty good to me.''

The Pacers would look even better it they can lock up George now before the season starts. Indiana opens training camp on Saturday and host Orlando in the Oct. 29 season-opener.

''I never put a time-frame on it because if you do and it doesn't happen then there are all kinds of questions,'' Bird said. ''We've started talking and it's going to be an all-day thing, I'm sure. It always is.''

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Baseball
View Comments