INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Pacers President Larry Bird put away his golf clubs Monday and went back to work trying to sign star swingman Paul George to a long-term contract.
If they don't reach a deal with George, the NBA's most improved player last season, he could become a free agent next summer.
George has repeatedly said he wants to stay in Indy, and Bird and coach Frank Vogel said Monday they intend to keep him in town. The hope is the two sides can reach a deal before the start of this season. Indiana opens training camp Saturday.
Bird would not say whether the two sides are close to a deal after Yahoo! Sports reported that they were nearing agreement on a five-year, $90 million contract (see full story).
Kings: Shaq joins ownership group
Shaquille O'Neal is joining the ownership group of the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings announced Monday that O'Neal has acquired a minority stake in the team under new owner Vivek Ranadive. The Kings will introduce the four-time NBA champion at a news conference Tuesday in Sacramento.
O'Neal tormented the Kings during the height of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, even dubbing the franchise the "Sacramento Queens." He also handed Sacramento its biggest blow by rallying the Lakers from a 3-2 deficit to win the 2002 Western Conference finals.
O'Neal retired after the 2010-11 season and has worked as an analyst for TNT the last two seasons (see full story).
Heat: Larry Drew II signs deal
MIAMI -- The Miami Heat have signed guard Larry Drew II, making him the 18th person on the roster for training camp with the two-time defending NBA champions.
Drew II is the son of Milwaukee Bucks coach Larry Drew.
Drew II finished his college career at UCLA, after transferring from North Carolina. He started all 35 of his appearances for UCLA last season, averaging 7.5 points and 7.3 assists. Overall, Drew II averaged 5.5 points in 131 college games.
Miami's first practice is Oct. 1.