Paul George, Gordon Hayward making presence felt with Team USA in Las Vegas

USA TODAY Sports

Two rising NBA stars with Indy ties are making a run at playing for their country in future international events, including the 2016 Olympic games.

Ah, it is good to be back from vacation and taking some time to catch up on a few offseason stories involving the Pacers. Let's start with Paul George who has been the subject of a few different storylines in Las Vegas where he is working out with a select group of players at a minicamp this week for USA Basketball.

When he arrived in Vegas from his visiting home in Southern California, a deferential response to potentially playing with Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers brought a round of speculation that PG may prefer to become a free agent next year and sign with the Lakers. Nevermind the facts of the situation, that PG would be nuts to leave the Pacers from both a financial and team perspective.

George stepped up and clarified his stance on returning to the Pacers for the prime of his career which still seems to surprise some NBA observers but one of these days they'll figure out the Pacers and this group of players have something special working here in little 'ol Indiana.

But alas, PG rode through another news cycle. Then for a little lighthearted news, this SLAM interview included a great story from PG about Larry Bird shutting down practice by draining 15 shots in a row and then walking out of the gym. Fabulous.

Now PG is letting his game talk among the young stars competing to impress Mike Krzyzewski and remain in the mix for a spot on the 2016 Olympic hoops team. George is no longer just practicing for the stars and learning from other NBA veterans, he IS one of the stars and taking more of a leadership role among the younger players.

Here are some other stories about what is going on in Vegas, including the name of former Brownsburg and Butler start Gordon Hayward, earning high praise for his effort on the court.

Paul George returns to Team USA a star on the rise - Yahoo! Sports

George Ready To Lead Pacers Further " Hang Time Blog | NBA.com

Gordon Hayward, Creighton's Doug McDermott among standouts at Team USA minicamp - SBNation.com

Los Angeles products all grown up at Team USA Select Team minicamp - SBNation.com

SLAM ONLINE | " Q+A: Paul George

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