He can opt out of his contract at the end of next season and, similar to the Jazz, Indiana has just lost a big edge in the race to try and re-sign him.
During the interview, Kobe Bryant and his influence were brought up by George.
George is under contract with the Pacers next season and has a $20.7 million player option for the 2018-19 season. And now, General Manager Kevin Pritchard and the Pacers have some serious work to do if they wish to keep George in IN for years to come.
Say George does make a definitive decision on his future as early as this weekend and includes his desires in his meeting with Pritchard. He would immediately become their franchise player and would help the Lakers become an attractive free agency destination once again. But if Hayward signs a one year deal with a second-year player option (a la Durant in Golden State last summer), he could be an unrestricted free agent next summer, too.
George is from LA, and many are calling his impending move "the worst kept secret in the National Basketball Association". Look, it's up to me to put a team around him and Lance (Stephenson), him and Myles (Turner) and Thaddeus (Young) and make moves and develop some continuity, as well.
It was a hard season for George, though, as his name was mentioned in trade rumors during the trade deadline. In every scenario he talked about being here. We want to win. DeRozan had a terrific year, but certainly benefited from both Chris Paul and teammate Kyle Lowry missing significant time with injuries.
The question is whether or not the Pacers want to take that risk.
Expect to see the Pacers be extremely active in free agency and on the trade market this offseason. "They play their traditional way".
The Pacers could still offer an extension to George this summer, but he doesn't have as much financial incentive to sign one.
A trade for George obviously would require Los Angeles to relinquish a helping of its assets, which Wojnarowski believes would be counter-productive to the long-term plan.
What we don't know is how heavily (if at all) protected those picks were in the proposed offer or how close the Hawks actually came to getting something done.