Pacers' Paul George on Thursday: 'This is my team, my group.'

INDIANAPOLIS -- Just a few days after Pacers All-Star Paul George made Pacers fans feel better about his future with the team, news leaked that he plans on leaving after next season. 

The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday that George told the Pacers he plans to leave the team in the summer of 2018.

While George never committed to staying in Indiana past next season in his comments on Thursday, he wasn't coy about wanting to win in Indiana.

"I'm all about trying to make this team better," George said Thursday at a charity softball game. "I'm all about trying to, again, do what these people, Indiana this city, this state. I want that ring. I want that gold. I want to accomplish that. Hopefully we're all on the same page with that agenda."

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George is under contract for the 2017-18 season, then can opt out and become a free agent. reporter Zach Lowe said the Pacers intend to move quickly on a trade.

The problem with a trade now that George has made his intentions clear? What team is going to give up anything for him, knowing he'll leave after this season? George prefers to join his hometown Los Angeles Lakers, Wojnarowski reported. 

If George does leave Indiana, he'll likely draw the ire of former Pacers great and beloved Indianapolis icon Reggie Miller. When Kevin Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Golden State Warriors last season, Miller criticized the move:

Durant would have been a god if he stayed in Oklahoma City. People always say to me, "I'm so glad you stayed with us"—that I stayed for 18 years with a small-market (Pacers) team in Indiana.


Nevertheless, it was the fight to put Indiana on the map that, in my mind, is my greatest accomplishment.

I lost to Michael Jordan. I battled Patrick Ewing and his Knicks. I lost to Larry Bird and his Celtics. I lost to Isiah Thomas and his "Bad Boys" Detroit Pistons. I lost to Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway's Orlando Magic.

You want to go against those guys, against the absolute best, even if you don't win.

Still, George's comments Thursday seem to go against what's been reported about the Pacers.

"I'm a Pacer," George said. "There's no way around that. This is my team, my group. This is where I'm at."

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