Paul George doesn’t sound like a guy ready to leave the Indiana Pacers.
George has been one of the biggest names on the rumors market as of late after his Pacers got whipped by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs and Larry Bird wound up stepping down as president.
Said rumors are natural considering George has one year left on his deal. He wants to win titles and if the Pacers think he’ll bolt in free agency, it’s better to trade him now and get value out of his departure.
For George, though, he sees a clear line of improvement the team can make in the draft and free agency this year, keeping it short and sweet with ESPN.com:
“I am a Pacer. I am under contract, and I intend to play.”
Fair enough. Reporters pressed forward through, asking George about rumors linking him to the Cavaliers and LeBron James:
“I don’t talk to LeBron at all. We don’t communicate,” George said. “I look up to LeBron, obviously. He’s been a tremendous ambassador to this game. He’s been a very huge influencer for me outside of the game, but we don’t communicate and figure out where one another’s going.”
George seems more likely to join the Los Angeles Lakers at some point. He’s a California kid and wants to compete for titles, something the small-market Pacers haven’t been able to do. The Lakers could in time thanks to a nice young core in place. The idea the Cavaliers are now a possibility is a product of the team getting whipped in the Finals.
Even with George’s comments on record, the Pacers front office can’t be too happy right now. Few face the pressure the Pacers do this offseason.