JULY 6: The Pacers have made it official with Smith, according to NBA.com’s transactions log. Head coach Rick Carlisle said today at a media session that the plan is for Smith to be Indiana’s starting power forward in the fall (Twitter link via Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files).
JULY 1: Free agent big man Jalen Smith has agreed to a two-year contract with the Pacers and will return to Indiana, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).
Smith’s new two-year deal is worth $9.6MM, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. That’s approximately the maximum amount the Pacers could offer over two seasons.
The 10th overall pick in 2020, Smith barely saw any action as a rookie in Phoenix in 2020/21, then found himself out of the Suns’ plans. They turned down his third-year rookie scale option for 2022/23 at the start of last season and traded him to Indiana at this year’s deadline.
With the lottery-bound Pacers, Smith began to flash the upside that made him a lottery pick two years ago, averaging 13.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG, and 1.0 BPG on .531/.373/.760 shooting in a part-time role (24.7 MPG).
There was a sense that Smith may be playing himself out of the Pacers’ price range — even though they hold his Bird rights, they were prohibited from offering him a starting salary higher than $4.67MM, the amount of his declined option. However, that limit didn’t stop the two sides from getting a deal done.
While it’s possible potential suitors were hesitant to invest too aggressively in Smith based on the numbers he was putting up for a team out of playoff contention down the stretch, he’s still just 22 years old and has the potential to continue improving.
Smith’s role and place on the 2022/23 depth chart will be determined in part by whether veteran bigs like Myles Turner and Daniel Theis remain on Indiana’s roster or end up elsewhere by the fall.
9 thoughts on “Pacers Re-Sign Jalen Smith”
Good to see him back. Thought he was as good as gone. He should get the chance to shine.
They must be trading myles now.
He must not be good on defense. Or something.
This one thing that drives me nuts the Pacers are in rebuild mode so why wouldn’t you play the young kid over Turner and Theis
Didn’t know Theis was on the team last season
Thought he could get more, and obviously elsewhere b/c they were limited in what they could offer. Ironically, Phoenix would have been 1 of his best landing spots, in my opinion. Indiana probably tries to flip Theis at this point right? All 3 bigs have similarities still dodnt think they got enough value for Brogdon, but if you look at the roster, you see possibilities there/at least what they’re doing
Smart young man. Instead of taking a little more money now, he positioned himself to make a lot more later because he clearly fits in Indiana’s scheme well. Just looking at how he did in Phoenix show if he didn’t choose the right team, he might be out of the league in two years.