All-Star forward Paul George and the Indiana Pacers are ramping up negotiations on a long-term contract extension expected to be finalized before the regular season begins.
George, 23, is in the final year of his contract. He earned $2.574 million in 2012 and would be a restricted free agent next summer if a new deal isn't in place.
The Pacers have no intention of running that risk, despite owning refusal rights in contract talks next year.
"(The deal) is going to get done," George told Gannett. "There will be a deal signed and sealed on the table before the season. We're (George and Pacers management) on the same page."
George said he's not looking for greener pastures after taking the Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals, pushing the Miami Heat in a seven-game series that raised George's national profile and exclamed to the Pacers that he's the superstar they felt he could be when he was drafted in the first round.
Team president Larry Bird might have other work to do before the contract can be signed. Danny Granger is owed $14 million and is coming off of knee surgery. If he proves healthy in preseason, his skill and expiring contract might make the former All-Star attractive to a contender.
"We've got a way set up where we definitely think we can get something done, but it's going to have to work for both parties," Bird told the Indianapolis Star.