In today’s news, the Pacers finally signed Paul George to a much-anticipated contract extension. Meanwhile, Raymond Felton and the Trail Blazers continued their very public media feud.
Pacers ink George to extension
The Indiana Pacers announced in a press release today that they had come to terms on a multiyear contract extension with Paul George.
The 23-year-old George will sign a five year contract with compensation equivalent to a max deal. The last year in the contract reportedly has a player option in it, meaning George will be able to test the market while he’s still in the prime of his career.
Drafted 10th overall by the Pacers in 2010, George made his first All Star appearance last season.
While rumors circulated over the summer persisting George would consider a free agent offer from the Lakers, the star has put to rest any grumblings of dissatisfaction in Indianapolis.
The league’s reigning Most Improved Player averaged 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game during the regular season, all while developing into one of the league’s premier wing defenders.
In the playoffs, George clashed head-to-head with LeBron James and guided the Pacers to a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference finals before eventually succumbing to the reigning champions.
“I want to thank the Pacers for believing in me when they drafted me,” George said in a statement. “To continue my career with the Pacers was a very easy decision. We have great ownership, a great front office, great fans and I’m blessed with great coaches and great teammates. I use great a lot because that is what this franchise is and I’m hopeful we can be part of great things in the future.”
The Pacers, meanwhile couldn’t be happier to lock up the services of one of the NBA’s most promising stars.
“Paul represents not only what our team and franchise is about, but what a professional athlete should be,” President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird said. “He strives every day to be the best he can be, as a player, as a teammate, as a person and as a representative of this franchise.”
Felton and Trail Blazers continue to trade barbs
Raymond Felton played with the Trail Blazers in 2011-2012 and endured arguably the worst season of his career. Over the summer of 2012, Felton bolted from the Blazers after a messy divorce and wound up signing with the Knicks as a free agent.
As a result, last year, when Felton’s Knicks went to the Portland, the point guard was greeted to a chorus of boos from the crowd.
But that wasn’t the end of it. In fact, the two parties continue to fight.
In an interview with two writers in New York City earlier in the week, Felton remained bitter about the treatment he received from the Portland organization, media and fans:
“At the end of the day, they said a lot things about me,” Felton remarked. “Said a lot of things about Jamal Crawford. They said me and Jamal were bad eggs. I’m sitting back like, ‘Jamal is with the Clippers having a great year, up for Sixth Man of the Year. His team was in the playoffs.’ And our team is in the playoffs. I don’t think we were the issues of bringing that team down. Not in the playoffs again and you want to put the blame on two guys. It was our fault they didn’t make the playoffs. Really?
“I don’t think that we were the issue because we were not there last year and they were not in the playoffs,” Felton added. “I was kind of upset about that because then you’re trying to kill my character. That’s not what I’m about. That part pissed me off. Now you’re trying to mess with my character? I was kind of upset about that. I’m not a type of cancer in the locker room.’’
The Blazers, thrown off guard by Felton’s call out, quickly fired a response back at the point guard over Twitter:
Why so mad, Ray? pic.twitter.com/eOFVI9KNA1
— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) September 24, 2013
The Knicks visit Portland on November 25. If the game wasn’t circled on your calendar already, it should be now.