The All-NBA teams are out and set from the league, released in a hush yesterday. And while most of it is conjecture that may not matter, we did get two very juicy storylines that came from who were on the list. Or better yet, who wasn’t.
See, with the new collective bargaining agreement that the NBA and the NBA Players’ Association came up with, players that make an All-NBA team during the length of their first extension with their home team are eligible for a “hometown max”. This monster deal was brokered with the intention of allowing small market teams the capacity to keep their superstars by being able to offer a massive amount of money.
And these deals are enormous. That added year the players are able to ink is worth almost $40 million in the fifth year.
So why does this matter for this year?
Well, let’s start over in the East. Paul George, Indiana’s star forward, has had an up and down last couple of years with his broken leg from a couple years ago and a roster shakeup that had him fighting to get to the playoffs this year.
Meanwhile, reports are that he’s not content in Indiana, and has warred with Larry Bird and the rest of the front office due to the roster around him, feeling as if he hasn’t been stocked with enough help to win.
Add this extra wrinkle: George is from LA, and has always been known around the league to be a diehard Lakers fan. This revelation has become more important as the years have faded off his deal, coupled with the Lakers’ decline and sudden jump in available cap space.
George got linked with the Celtics, Lakers and Heat at the trade deadline this past year, as reports swirled that he was ready to move on from the Pacers and find a new place to call home. But as he didn’t move, even with midnight hour pushes to acquire the forward, many felt that the Pacers were putting their stock in a hometown advantage in signing George, offering him more money than he could refuse.
Those options, however, went up in smoke as George missed the cut – by a long way – yesterday. Now, the Pacers are stuck offering George the same money as the rest of the league, and the option of heading to the Lakers seems like a distinct possibility, with Yahoo! reporting that Magic Johnson has told the Lakers not to offer assets to the Pacers in anticipation that they’ll land George next offseason.
Crazy right? Well, that takes us out West to the Utah Jazz. Utah is almost in the exact opposite situation of the Pacers, as the Jazz have stocked themselves with young talent and climbed the ranks of the loaded Western Conference.
But they may find themselves in the same scenario as the Pacers with the narrative surrounding Gordon Hayward. Hayward is a free agent this summer, and while the Jazz hold his ‘Bird Rights’ and the ability to offer more money, the scales haven’t shifted that heavily, with the “supermax” off the table.
Hayward became fair game for all of the teams involved, with reports that the Hornets, Heat, Nets, Knicks and Celtics are all zeroing in on making a pitch to Hayward. The Celtics are the most adamant team, with officials leaking the information almost immediately.
Hayward, in contrast to George, hasn’t shown any insinuations that he may leave Utah, but he signed a deal with the Hornets the last time he was a free agent that got matched by Utah, which shows that Hayward has given thought to the idea of leaving.
And with the Jazz’s inability to add that sweetener to the end, the entire league can get in on the Hayward sweepstakes. Without Hayward, the Jazz go from promising building block to full rebuild.
Crazy how things can change, especially with franchises that have no control.