2:25pm: The Pacers have officially waived Theis, according to a team press release.
11:54am: Theis has agreed to a buyout with the Pacers and intends to sign with the Clippers upon clearing waivers, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).
11:42am: The Pacers and center Daniel Theis are engaged in “serious” discussions about a potential contract buyout, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that an agreement between the two sides would clear a path for Theis to sign with the Clippers.
After previously reporting the Clippers’ interest in Theis, Charania doesn’t explicitly say that the big man has reached a deal to sign with Los Angeles. However, he suggests that the only obstacles standing in the way of a move to L.A. for the veteran big man are a finalized buyout with Indiana and a physical exam with the Clippers.
Theis, 31, was limited to just seven NBA appearances last season due to a knee injury, but had a strong summer in international competition. He started at center for the German national team that captured gold at the 2023 World Cup, averaging 10.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 21.8 minutes per game in the club’s eight FIBA contests.
Theis had hoped to carry over that success into the NBA season, but the Pacers have a crowded frontcourt behind starting center Myles Turner. Isaiah Jackson and Jalen Smith have both been ahead of Theis on the depth chart through the first three weeks of the season.
As a result, Theis has been limited to just one cameo appearance and admitted earlier this month that he’s “not happy” about his nonexistent role in Indiana. While the Pacers presumably explored trading the German, his pseudo-expiring $9.11MM contract (he has a $9.52MM team option for 2024/25) wouldn’t have positive or even neutral value, given his lack of NBA playing time in the last two seasons, so a buyout makes more sense.
For their part, the Clippers are in the market for help in the middle because reserve center Mason Plumlee is expected to miss a significant chunk of the season due to an MCL sprain. Since Plumlee went down, Los Angeles has had a tough time finding someone who can give the club reliable minutes at center behind Ivica Zubac.
The Clippers have been carrying just 13 players on standard contracts since making their trade for James Harden two weeks ago, so they’ll have an open spot for Theis even after completing their reported promotion of Joshua Primo from a two-way contract to the standard roster. That move was reported back on November 6, but hasn’t yet been made official — that will likely happen later today, since teams aren’t permitted to carry fewer than 14 players on standard contracts for more than two weeks at a time.
Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files first reported on Tuesday that there was a “growing belief” Theis would soon land with the Clippers.