Pacers Waive Rodney Stuckey

11:31am: The Pacers have officially waived Stuckey, the team announced today in a press release.

9:38am: The Pacers are waiving injured guard Rodney Stuckey, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical (via Twitter). The news comes on the heels of Stuckey suffering a left patellar tendon strain, which is expected to sideline him for four to six weeks.Rodney Stuckey vertical

Stuckey’s contract situation was a motivating factor for the Pacers here, since he had an unusual option for the 2017/18 season. In most cases, player options represent guaranteed money (unless the player opts out), but Stuckey’s $7MM player option for next year was more of a mutual option. As Charania notes, by waiving the veteran guard prior to April 10, Indiana won’t be on the hook for any of his salary for 2017/18.

While Stuckey should be ready to return to action by the end of April or start of May, he’s unlikely to land with another team this season, so he could get a head start on free agency for next year, assuming he clears waivers. If he’s formally waived today, the former first-round pick would clear waivers on Friday.

Stuckey, who will turn 31 next month, is coming off perhaps his worst NBA season. In 39 games, he averaged 7.2 PPG and shot just 37.3% from the field — both marks are career-lows. Even if he had stayed healthy, Stuckey may have been a candidate to be cut before season’s end, in order to get the Pacers off the hook for next year’s salary.

With Stuckey headed to the waiver wire, the Pacers will open up a spot on their roster at a time when they could use some added depth. Regular rotation players Al Jefferson and Glenn Robinson III are also on the shelf with injuries as Indiana makes a late-season push to clinch a playoff spot. The team will have the opportunity to add someone new to its roster on either a 10-day contract or a rest-of-season deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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