Source: NBA's Tournament Championship game will count toward Tyrese Haliburton's game played total
Haliburton needs to play in at least 65 games this season to be eligible for All-NBA. Being voted on one of three All-NBA teams is worth an additional $53 million in his new contract.
The Indiana Pacers reached the championship game of the first annual In-Season Tournament even if there isn’t a record of it. At least officially.
The game doesn’t count against their record and the statistics don’t impact team or players stats.
Because they reached the finals, both the Pacers (27-21) and Los Angeles Lakers will play an additional game. They will play 83 regular-season games while the other 28 teams play 82.
And every game matters significantly more to Pacers All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton, who is in the final year of his rookie deal. His new rookie maximum extension begins on July 1 and he’s guaranteed 25% of the cap. However, he has an escalator in his contract that increases the number to 30% if he’s voted on one of three All-NBA teams at the end of this season.
And new this season, a player must appear in at least 65 games to be eligible for major awards like this one.
The In-Season Tournament championship game will count toward Haliburton’s games played total this season, a league source with direct knowledge of the situation told Fieldhouse Files.
That’s important considering he can only miss FOUR more games (of out 34) this season and still qualify for All-NBA — which would then trigger a clause in his contract to grow his earnings from an estimated $207 to $260 million over the five-year contract.
The NBA projects the salary cap for the 2024-25 season to be $141 million so Haliburton would earn $35.25 million (25%) or $42.3 million (30%), depending on 1) All-NBA voting and 2) if he even qualifies based on games played.
“I understand what’s at stake for me financially,” Haliburton acknowledged on Monday after practice. “But at the end of the day, I got to take care of my body to the best of my ability and put myself in the right situation. Yeah, I know I don’t have a ton of games left. I think it’s a stupid rule, like many guys in the league, but this is what the owners want. So as players we have to do our job and play in 65 games if we’re able to.”
Haliburton and the Pacers made the most of the In-Season Tournament going 7-1 and playing four consecutive games on national TV. For a franchise that hasn’t reached the postseason since 2020, these games mattered — and they played like it.
“It's a great storyline,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in Las Vegas about Haliburton and the Pacers garnering national attention in the tournament. “The enthusiasm that Tyrese and his teammates have brought to this competition, I think in a positive way, with a bit of a chip on their shoulder.”
After suffering a left hamstring strain, Haliburton returned Tuesday in Boston on a minutes restriction after being out for 10 of the last 11 games. For the purposes of All-NBA qualification, as agreed to by the players in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, a player must play at least 65 games and up to two of those games will count if he plays at least 15 minutes.
However, Haliburton only played 13:29 on Jan. 8 — the game he was carried off the court against Boston with the hamstring injury — so that game does NOT qualify.
To summarize: Haliburton has appeared in 35 of 48 games this season; one of those games does not qualify, but the tournament championship does, per league source. So he’s missed 13 of a possible 17 games to remain eligible.
And his magic number is FOUR.
Haliburton is averaging a career-high 23.3 points and 12.5 assists per game this season. He was voted an All-Star starter for the first time and even more special, the game will be played in Indianapolis. He was the top vote-getter in the Eastern Conference among guards by the fans, players and media.