Pacers To Sign Gal Mekel?

THURSDAY, 9:10am: Visa issues surrounding the Israeli native have thrown the deal into question, Stein reports. The Pacers brought Mekel to Boston, where they play Friday, with the plan of signing him today. Indiana’s hardship provision to sign a 16th player expires today, but Mekel’s visa might not be ready until Friday, according to Stein (All Twitter links). That raises the possibility that the Pacers will sign a different player instead, as Stein notes, though the plan is still to sign Mekel, Buckner tweets.

WEDNESDAY, 2:53pm: The Pacers will indeed sign Mekel, as Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star confirms (Twitter link).

2:43pm: It’s likely that the Pacers will obtain a hardship provision because of their injuries that will allow them to sign Mekel without waiving anyone else, Stein writes in a full piece. The absences of George, Hill, Watson and Rodney Stuckey would give Indiana the four players required for the league to grant the 16th roster spot, Stein notes. All three have to have missed three regular games, and an independent physician must declare that they’re likely to continue to miss time before the NBA will OK the provision.

2:29pm: Indiana is “in the process of” signing former Mavs point guard Gal Mekel, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The Pacers have been carrying 15 players, so they’d have to make a corresponding move, though it’s unclear whom the team plans to drop. The team has a $5.305MM disabled player exception thanks to Paul George‘s injury that it can use to give Mekel more than the minimum salary, though it seems unlikely the Pacers would use that in this case. Stein suggests the move is an effort to compensate for injuries in the backcourt, where point guard George Hill and C.J. Watson are nursing injuries, but neither is expected to miss more than a few weeks.

Indiana has 13 fully guaranteed contracts plus partially guaranteed arrangements with Luis Scola and rookie Shayne Whittington. Scola has been starting for the Pacers, and his guarantee is much greater than the mere $25K promised to Whittington.

Mekel was on the Mavs opening-night roster, but Dallas let go of him soon thereafter to sign J.J. Barea. The Thunder reportedly had the 26-year-old native of Israel on their radar, but they are instead poised to add Ish Smith to offset their own rash of injuries.

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