Pacers pushed back Duane Washington Jr.'s contract guarantee date
Washington Jr.'s salary for next season was scheduled to become fully guaranteed on July 6. Now it's been moved back.
The Pacers and Duane Washington Jr. agreed to re-work his contract.
His $1.6 million salary for the 2022-23 season was originally set to become fully guaranteed on July 6. However, both sides agreed to push it back to July 15, Fieldhouse Files has learned.
This is something they did multiple times last offseason with forward Kelan Martin.
Washington Jr. went undrafted last summer. However, almost immediately after the 2021 draft ended, he agreed to a two-way contract to join the Pacers despite not visiting for a pre-draft workout.
Then, at the end of a productive season, the Pacers signed both Washington Jr. and Terry Taylor to three-year deals on April 7. Those new contracts run through the 2023-24 season.
It got lost in the news cycle because on that same day, head coach Rick Carlisle spoke candidly for over seven minutes about his place in the organization and his future. “I’m here to coach this team,” he said.
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Washington Jr. is practicing with the summer league team with the intention to play. However, you have to wonder if this changes things for him. Without a contract guarantee, it may be the right call for Washington Jr. to sit out in Las Vegas.
To be clear, there is no reason to believe he won’t remain with the organization. They are big believers in him. This allows for them to have more salary flexibility.
“He’s really locked in on everything we’re doing,” said summer league coach Ronald Nored. “He’s asking a lot of questions. And the thing that I like, Duane likes to talk.
“He’s the vibe in the gym — in every gym he’s in. What he’s really doing is helping … the young guys really understand the different spots. He does such a good job talking and helping other guys, that guys know the spots that they need to be in and they know how a drill should run because Duane can talk the whole thing out.”
Washington Jr. is just 22 and entering his second season in the NBA. Due to injuries, he received a big opportunity to play last season and played well. He averaged 9.9 points per game and shot 37.7% from range.
“Duane, the path he’s been through, he had to grind,” said lottery pick Bennedict Mathurin. “It’s been really good to see his personality; he’s really a positive person and a leader.”
Washington Jr. is expecting his first kid. “I’m going to be Dad of the Year for sure,” he joked. As Nored said, he’s outspoken and is a willing leader.
“I’ve been a leader my whole life,” he said last week, “doing stuff and not following other and being who I want to be. And right now, I want to be the right guy, the Pacers guy. For me it’s putting together good days, keep getting better. You can’t lead the way if you’re not doing what you’re supposed to doing yourself so it’s a good way to keep myself in check.”
In the offseason, he’s spent a lot of time at the team facility. He moved into a new house and is beginning to prepare for the new addition. He also went to the Indianapolis 500 and replaced Tyrese Haliburton in the 500 Festival Parade, so he proudly represented the Pacers.
“We’re super young and have a really, really talented group here for summer league,” he said. “I’m super excited to see what we’re going to do this year in Vegas. For the next two or three weeks, we’re all Pacers and we’re all wearing it across our chests. I said that in the first meeting we had.
“We all want to get better, we all want to win. And when you win, good things happen for everybody.”
Is this just for financial flexibility to make other deals happen first? and what is the date for Terry Taylor's contract to be guaranteed?
So what does Duane get out of this? Do they at least buy him a big insurance policy in case he gets hurt? If not it seems like the risks are pretty high.