Rumors of Paul George going to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2014 NBA Free Agency as a restricted free agent can now be put into the casket; the 23-year-old star small forward says he plans to sign a long-term contract with the Indiana Pacers before the 2013-14 NBA season begins.

In a report from Michael Pointer of The Indianapolis Star, George plans on being a member of the Pacers for at least the next half-decade now.

“(A long-term contract) is going to get done,” George said. “There will be a deal signed and sealed on the table before the season. We’re (George and Pacers management) on the same page.”

George is on the final year of his rookie deal, and proved his worth as an upcoming star in the league when he led the Danny Granger-less Pacers to the playoffs, almost dethroning the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. George has taken full control as the leader of the team, as he averaged 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.1 rebounds per game last season.

Rumors earlier in the summer had it that George would try forcing himself into Los Angeles and playing for the Lakers. George grew up being a fan of Kobe Bryant, and he was also born in California. George said in the summer on ESPN Radio that it would be "tough to say to no to Kobe". With his best friend Nick Young on the team as well, there was at least a chance George could have been sporting the purple-and-gold for the 2014-15 NBA season.

Now that George is planning on staying, we have to wonder now what type of deal the 6-foot-9, 221-pounder will be getting. With Roy Hibbert already locked up with a max contract, it wouldn't surprise me if me George gets one, too. However, it also wouldn't surprise me either if he decides to take a bit less to help Indiana's cap situation.

Indiana's starting five features some pretty big contracts in George Hill, George, Granger, David West and Hibbert. Granger likely will walk next offseason in free agency, but Indiana will have to find a way to lock up Lance Stephenson to a deal then still.

We'll see what happens, but overall it's good news for Pacers fans right now knowing that their best player is here to stay.

This article was written by Josh Dhani. Follow him on Twitter here and read more of his work here


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