Pacers agree to four-year deal with point guard Andrew Nembhard, the 31st overall pick
Nembhard played in summer league and the rookie will soon sign a deal worth over $2 million annually.
Andrew Nembhard will soon officially be a member of the Pacers organization.
Selected 31st overall in the 2022 NBA Draft out of Gonzaga, Nembhard reached agreement with the Pacers on a four-year deal, league sources confirmed to Fieldhouse Files.
His first NBA contract will be worth up to $8.6 million over four years and includes $6.4 million fully guaranteed. The Pacers have a team option for the final year, the 2025-26 season, per league sources.
This is the most guaranteed money for a second-round pick coming out of college.
No. 31, the first pick in the second round, is valuable because second-round picks are not guaranteed contracts unlike first-rounders.
That also enables players to potentially sign more favorable contracts since they are not slotted into a salary based on their draft position. Both Nembhard and the Pacers excited about the partnership and that is reflected in the agreement.
The deal is expected to be completed before the weekend, with a more formal in-person signing in the coming weeks.
“The word that stands out to me is feel,” head coach Rick Carlisle said of Nembhard. “He’s just got an amazing feel for the game. I love point guards. I’ve had the real privilege of working with some great, great point guards. … I love his size, love playmakers that can control the game, not only with their skill but with their mind.”
The Pacers were high on Nembhard for several months, then he impressed the organization even more during his pre-draft workout on June 15, one week before the draft.
“They see me as a guy who can help bring winning, bring a good basketball IQ to the team and a guy that can make plays without having to run too much things for him,” Nembhard said after the draft. “I think the workout went well and I got (positive) vibes for sure.
“The last few years I’ve been really fortunate to win a lot of games, be part of a team that has a great culture and knows how to come to work every day and get better. I think I can just be another piece of the puzzle here that can connect guys.”
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Nembhard will be slotted as the third-string point guard behind Tyrese Haliburton and T.J. McConnell. Both are positive guys with a high basketball IQ and a willingness to lead, whereas Nembhard’s demeanor is similar to outgoing guard Malcolm Brogdon. Quiet, yet in control.
Starting in five summer league games, Nembhard averaged 6.6 points, 5.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. He showed off his elite court vision and passing. Once he touched the ball, he was the best at playing with pace and immediately finding an open teammate.
“I don’t remember a day where Andrew hasn’t commanded the floor well,” said summer league head coach Ronald Nored. “He’s just a steady, smart, solid point guard. And he does it at both ends. He separated himself from Day 1 with his feel for the game, his toughness and his ability to lead during games.
“Putting him in pick-and-rolls, we feel pretty good about it and usually something good is going to happen. He makes the right play just about every time and sees the game so well. He’s showing that here — just as he has his entire career.”
Nembhard, 22, spent his first two years at the University of Florida, then transferred to Gonzaga. He started in all 32 games last season for a team that went 28-4 and earned the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
“He’s played some national team stuff over the years so he’s had so much experience,” Nored added. “Coming to this is not new for him. We actually joke about it because we’re working on certain things that he’s already pretty good at. I’m like, ‘Are you getting bored?’ He’s like ‘No, I’m good. I like to read it and get better.’
“I’m really glad he’s on our team.”
The Pacers also added Bennedict Mathurin (6) and Kendall Brown (48) in the draft. Mathurin signed his rookie deal on July 3rd and Brown remains unsigned.
“We wanted to get more athletic, more dynamic, but we wanted to bring some intelligence in as well,” team president Kevin Pritchard said last month. “All three demonstrated this past year an unbelievable athleticism, drive to win and if there was one common denominator between the three, it’s how they all love to play.”
Added Nembhard: “It’s been a great experience. A lot of the of the second-year guys have made the environment so much fun to come into work the last few weeks. I think we’ve all been trying to learn and create chemistry.”
Brown needs signed next. He really showed his potential in summer league. I felt like he stood out more physically than most guys on the floor. He looks like a steal based on where he was drafted.