Through the first four games of the 2023/24 season, 14 of the 15 players on the Pacers‘ standard roster have appeared in at least two games and logged at least 18 total minutes. The only exception is center Daniel Theis, who has been a DNP-CD in all four contests.
Speaking to Brian Robb of MassLive on Wednesday, Theis admitted that he’s not thrilled by having a nonexistent role in Indiana so far this fall.
“Obviously after a great summer, I’m not happy with the situation I’m in right now,” Theis said. “I want to play and take all the good stuff from the summer into the season but it’s a long season. We are going to see what’s going on and what’s happening.”
Theis’ comments about his summer are references to the fact that he played a key role for the German national team en route to a gold medal in the World Cup. After being limited to just seven NBA appearances last season due to a knee injury, he averaged 10.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 21.8 minutes per game in Germany’s eight World Cup contests.
Theis had been hoping to carry over that success into the NBA season, but the Pacers have a crowded frontcourt behind starting center Myles Turner, with Isaiah Jackson and Jalen Smith also in the mix for minutes. Both players have been ahead of Theis on the depth chart in the early going.
“There’s communication but it’s also coach’s decision,” Theis told Robb. “I just stay ready, do my thing and whatever happens, happens.”
While Theis gave no indication that he’s seeking a trade or buyout at this point, his contract makes him a candidate for such a move. The 31-year-old is earning approximately $9.1MM in 2023/24 and has a $9.5MM team option for ’24/25, which will almost certainly be declined, so he’s essentially on an expiring deal.
Whether it happens in Indiana or somewhere else, Theis is clearly hoping to earn a bigger role at some point this season.
“I want to play and want to be part of the team, which is the most important thing,” he said.