Bruce Brown, Obi Toppin, Tyrese Haliburton
INDIANAPOLIS – Fans hoping to see the Indiana Pacers make some noise in the NBA offseason weren’t disappointed.
The team made some significant moves to bolster the roster and secure its future. Here’s a look at what the Pacers did over the weekend.
Securing the franchise
It’s no secret how much the Pacers love Tyrese Haliburton, the All-Star point guard they acquired from the Sacramento Kings in a February 2022 trade.
How much is Haliburton worth to the franchise?
Reportedly, about $260 million.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowsk said the team agreed to a five-year max deal with Haliburton. The Pacers can’t make it official until July 6, when the NBA’s yearly deal moratorium expires.
The front office clearly sees Haliburton as the centerpiece of the franchise, handing him the largest contract in team history.
Signing Bruce Brown
Bruce Brown emerged as a key player during the Denver Nuggets’ championship run. He declined his player option earlier in the summer to become an unrestricted free agent.
The 6’4″ guard/forward agreed to a two-year, $45 million deal with the Pacers, according to ESPN. If he’d stuck around in Denver, he would’ve made $6.8 million.
The key for Brown is his versatility. He can play and defend multiple positions. For Denver, he primarily came off the bench and saw time at point guard, shooting guard and small forward.
A good defender with a decent touch from three-point range, he brings plenty to the table for the Blue and Gold.
Trading for Toppin
The Pacers will add another versatile piece in Knicks forward Obi Toppin.
The team will reportedly acquire Toppin from New York in exchange for two future second-round picks. Like most other NBA transactions, the teams can’t finalize the deal until July 6, when the NBA’s yearly moratorium expires.
Toppin can play both forward positions, giving the Pacers some additional depth. He showed flashes with the Knicks, but playing behind All-Star Julius Randle limited his minutes.
At 6’9”, the Dayton product has tremendous athleticism. Pacers fans may remember his best game of 2022-2023, when he scored 34 points and grabbed 7 rebounds as the Pacers topped New York in their regular-season finale.
The Pacers are reportedly trading Chris Duarte to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for draft compensation.
That’s according to Shams Charania, NBA insider for The Athletic and Stadium.
It just goes to show how quickly things can change in pro sports. After the Pacers selected him 13th overall in 2021, it looked like Duarte would be a foundational piece during their rebuild.
After injuring his ankle, Duarte missed several weeks for the Pacers during the 2022-2023 campaign. When he returned, he had trouble finding a spot in the lineup with the team giving significant minutes to rookies Andrew Nembhard and Bennedict Mathurin.
Injuries nagged Duarte last season, and he endured a drop-off in shooting, with his field goal and three-point percentages falling.
Signing top picks
The Pacers announced over the weekend they’d signed their two top draft picks: Jarace Walker and Ben Sheppard.
Walker went eighth overall in the NBA Draft after the Washington Wizards selected him. Washington traded his draft rights to the Pacers in exchange for Bilal Coulibaly in a deal pre-arranged by both teams. The Pacers had picked Coulibaly seventh overall.
Walker, who played one season for the Houston Cougars, will make $6 million in his first year with the team, according to Spotrac.
The Pacers took Sheppard at No. 26. The Belmont star impressed the team during the NBA Scouting Combine and pre-draft workouts. His all-around game—his ability to dribble, pass, shoot and defend—intrigued the Pacers enough to take him in the first round.
He’s expected to make $2.5 million for the upcoming season, according to Spotrac.
Both players signed their contracts Saturday afternoon.
Suggest a Correction