The Pacers have acquired the rights to rookie forward Rakeem Christmas from the Cavaliers, the team has announced via a press release. Heading to Cleveland in the deal is the 2019 second round pick that Indiana acquired from the Lakers in the Roy Hibbert trade. “We really liked Rakeem when he came in for pre-draft workouts,” said Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird. “He is a solid player who was a contributor all four years at Syracuse and we look forward to having him on our team.”
Christmas, the No. 36 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, had been acquired by the Cavs on draft night from the Timberwolves in exchange for the rights to Duke point guard Tyus Jones. Cleveland did not sign Christmas to a rookie contract prior to shipping him to Indiana. Thus, the Pacers will have to negotiate a deal with Christmas before he joins the team.
The 23-year-old spent four seasons playing for Syracuse, and his career numbers with the Orangemen were 7.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks to go with a slash line of .560/.000/.681. Christmas saved his best work for his senior campaign, when he logged 17.5 PPG and 9.1 RPG.