Pacers News: Larry Bird’s replacement confident Paul George will stay in Indiana

Paul George trade
PHOTOGRAPH: joshuak8/Flickr | Paul George of the Indiana Pacers

NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird recently announced that he will be stepping down as the Indiana Pacers president of basketball operations. Kevin Pritchard, Bird’s replacement, believes Paul George still wants to stay and win in Indiana. Will PG-13 sign a max contract extension this summer?

After the Cleveland Cavaliers sweep the Pacers in the first round, George’s future in Indiana became uncertain. There are various speculations about his possible departure and his plan to join the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018. To make the situation more complicated, Bird resigned as the Pacers president of basketball operations.

However, it was revealed that Bird already informed Pacers owner Herb Simon about his decision to leave last summer. Simon said that he isn’t shocked with the announcement and thankful that Bird will stay with the Pacers in a different capacity. As of now, all eyes will be on Kevin Pritchard if he can make the Pacers a legitimate title contender.

Kevin Pritchard thinks Paul George wants to stay with the Pacers

Despite the trade rumors surrounding Paul George, new Pacers president Kevin Pritchard remains confident that the superstar will stay. In an exit interview, Pritchard revealed that George isn’t talking about leaving the Pacers and really wanted to be in Indiana.

“I did exit interviews last week,” Pritchard said. “Paul and I talked, I don’t know, 45 minutes to an hour. We talked about a lot of things, and in every scenario, he wanted to be here. He kept coming back to one statement that hits me hard, and we all know: He wants to win. The message was: He wants to win. The Pacers (also) want to win. We’re on the same page.”

George will be eligible to sign a massive contract extension this summer. However, before the February trade deadline, George said that he isn’t guaranteeing the Pacers that he will sign the extension. The Pacers star will become a free agent in 2018 and already expressed his intention to play for his hometown team, the Lakers.

Pritchard’s offseason plan

Aside from convincing Paul George to sign an extension, Pritchard will busy improving the Pacers roster in the upcoming offseason. Pritchard said that “it’s up to me to put a team around him.” Re-signing point guard Jeff Teague and acquiring at least one superstar in the free agency market will be the Pacers’ top priority this summer.

Under Pritchard, the Pacers are also expected to more active on the trade market. “I’ve been in this role before,” Pritchard said, alone at the podium. “Sometimes it’s OK being the No. 2 guy.”

Photo courtesy: joshuak8/Flickr

Video courtesy: Youtube/Indiana Pacers

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