Paul George is a big-time NBA star, one of the 10 best players in the league. George turns 27 next month, he’s come all the way back from a gruesome leg injury, and he’s going to get paid this offseason.
Now, the bad news: George hits free agency in 2018. (There’s a chance the Pacers could offer him a Super Max contract that is $40 million more than anyone else can offer him.) After two losses to LeBron in the playoffs, George has taken shots at three different teammates.
Does this sound like someone who wants to stay in Indiana? After not getting the final shot in game one and letting everyone know it, here’s what George said about Lance Stephenson after the game two loss:
"“He’s got to learn to control himself and be in the moment,” George said. “Lance, in our locker room, is looked upon as a leader. His body language has to improve — just for the team. We all know that Lance is an emotional guy. A lot of it is his heart and his competitiveness. That emotion comes out"
"of him. He’s got to channel that toward making effort plays on the court and doing whatever he needs for us to succeed.”"
It didn’t stop there. George – who was tremendous with 32 points, eight rebounds and seven assists – also went public with this criticism of Myles Turner late Monday night:
"“We just need him to challenge Tristan [Thompson], keep him off the boards,” George said of the 21-year-old Turner. “He needs to make himself available down low in the post. He needs to know at this point he has to take it to the next level. We’ll continue to work with him."
But it’s also a bit out of character for George, who has never been a vocal leader. He sounds like a man who has had enough losing these last couple years. Sounds like a man who wants out of Indiana.
Hell, Chris Paul is clearly as frustrated as any star, and he’s never been beyond the 2nd round of the playoffs. He could have blasted any of his teammates for playoffs losses over the last five years. Has he?