Paul George, Gordon Hayward denied shot at signing $200M deals
The vote also had an impact on Utah Jazz All-Star Gordon Hayward, who did not make the All-NBA teams. He has the option to be a free agent this summer, but he only has seven years of experience -- making him ineligible for the $200 million deal unless he picked up his $16.7 million option for next season.
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At the other end of the spectrum, Houston Rockets guard James Harden and Washington Wizards star John Wall have joined Stephen Curry (Warriors) and Russell Westbrook (Thunder) as being eligible to sign new five-year max contract extensions this summer after making the All-NBA team on Thursday.
Had George made one of the three teams, he would have qualified for the new Designated Player Extension that is part of the new collective bargaining agreement that starts July 1. That designation would've allowed the Pacers to offer George the richest contract in NBA history -- and add up to five years and approximately $210 million to his contract.
That is about $75 million more than another team could guarantee George were he to sign elsewhere if he opted for free agency in 2018. This new provision was built into the system following Kevin Durant's departure from the Oklahoma City Thunder in free agency last summer.
Players qualify for the Designated Player Extension if they make the All-NBA team the year before the extension or are named Most Valuable Player or Defensive Player of the Year. It only applies to players going into their eighth or ninth seasons when the contract takes effect.
The Pacers could still offer an extension to George this summer, but he doesn't have as much financial incentive to sign one. There has been speculation that the Pacers may test the trade market for George because they risk losing him after next season.
Several teams made trade offers for George in February, including the Atlanta Hawks, who offered four first-round picks in exchange for him. George, who grew up as a Kobe Bryant fan in Southern California, has expressed an interest in playing for the Los Angeles Lakers in the past.
New Pacers president Kevin Pritchard, who met with George after the team was eliminated from the playoffs by the Cleveland Cavaliers, told reporters that George expressed an interest in staying long term but made it clear he wanted to be on a contender.
The Pacers could wait and see whether George makes the All-NBA team next season, because he'd then be eligible for the $200 million-plus deal while other teams could only guarantee about $130 million.
Hayward, a first-time All-Star who is coming off the best season of his career, is now assured to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He's likely to receive a maximum contract wherever he signs, and the Celtics are rumored to be in the mix with his college coach Brad Stevens now leading the East's No. 1 playoff seed.
Meanwhile, Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey has said his first priority is retaining key players such as Hayward.
"Player retention would be the next step," Lindsey said Thursday. "... It goes without saying that every fiber in our collective being wants Gordon back."
Said teammate Rudy Gobert of Hayward: "I don't want to see him leave because he's a big part of what we've been building. We've been through a lot. ... I'm excited about the team we became and the team we'll become."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.