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Paul George Ready To Lead Pacers Further

The apprenticeship ended earlier than expected for Paul George. It ended earlier than anyone expected, facilitated no doubt by his breakout 2012-13 season and the Indiana Pacers spirited run to the Eastern Conference finals.

The end of that process, however, gave way to another even more unexpected transition for George the past two months. He went from a promising young NBA talent, an All-Star even, to a player atop almost everyones hot list of the next wave of superstar the league has to offer.

Fans in his native Southern California have already tagged him as the current star capable of soothing the burn for Los Angeles Lakers faithful still suffering from the shock of Dwight Howard bolting for Houston. That pipe dream was one George all but dismissed publicly after his first workout during the U.S. Mens Senior National Team mini-camp this week on the campus of UNLV.

Its certainly more notoriety, George said of the wicked increase in attention he has received since going to toe-to-toe with and holding his own against Miamis LeBron James on Eastern Conference finals stage. Its not the same. Everywhere I go its just not the same. But its something I wanted. I wanted to be a franchise guy, a household name guy in this league. Its like they say, it comes with the territory. And itll only make me better in the future for going through this.

George is entering the final season of his rookie deal as arguably the best bargain in basketball: hell make $3.2 million this season, but he is eligible for a long-term extension. The Pacers have until Oct. 31 to get a deal done. And that shouldnt be a problem, not with Pacers president Larry Bird already making it clear to Pacers fans that a major offer for George is on the way.

Source: Sekou Smith, NBA.com


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