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Pacers commit to Tyrese Haliburton for the long haul, agree to five-year rookie maximum extension
"He’s changed everything with this organization," Carlisle said. Haliburton's contract runs through the 2028-29 season.
Soon after midnight Eastern Time Saturday, marking the official start of a new fiscal year in the NBA, the agreement was complete.
At the first possible time he became eligible, the Indiana Pacers reached agreement with point guard Tyrese Haliburton on a rookie maximum contract extension, a league source confirmed to Fieldhouse Files. Woj first reported the news.
Five years and up to $260 million, which means Haliburton is eligible to receive 30% of the team’s salary cap, the maximum allowed, if he’s voted on any of the three All-NBA teams next season.
The contract does NOT include a player or team option, per league source.
That’s important because of what I referenced in my preview story. Ten years ago, Paul George signed for slightly less less — 27% of the cap — in exchange for a player option for the final year of the deal.
At minimum, Haliburton will receive $207 million — the highest contract in franchise history. Consider how that’s almost 16 times what Herb and the late Mel Simon paid for the franchise ($13 million) back in 1983.
“He’s changed everything with this organization,” head coach Rick Carlisle said earlier this year. “He’s changed the entire vibe of it, he’s changed the atmosphere day-to-day in the locker room and the way people view Indiana Pacers basketball. He loves the challenge. He loves the responsibility of the challenge in being the leader on the court.
“Nothing but props to him. And, he’s nowhere reached his ceiling as a player.”
To be clear, this extension does not impact their projected $10 million in cap space for next season because it becomes effective in another year and after his second full season in Indy.
Haliburton, the 12th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, will earn less this season ($5.8 million) than Jarace Walker ($6 million), the Pacers’ pick at No. 8 this year.
“I like where we’re going,” Haliburton said at his exit interview in April. “We got a lot of youth, we got guys that can contribute in different ways. I think we have cap room if there’s a move that they want to make.”
Earlier in the evening, the Pacers agreed on a free-agent deal with guard Bruce Brown for $45 million over two years, per league source. At $22 million in Year 1, the former Denver Nuggets sixth man immediately becomes the highest-paid Pacer because the team’s books are in good shape. (The Pacers hold a team option for Year 2 of his deal.)
Center Myles Turner will earn $20 million next season — and they still have money to spend.
Haliburton, 23, has not yet reached the NBA playoffs. That’s the goal this upcoming season.
It took some time for Haliburton, who they acquired in Feb. 2022 in a trade with the Sacramento Kings, to first process the trade. He was young and that first experience taught him about the business of basketball.
That was a low.
Now it will be difficult to top this high, at least from an individual standpoint.
“life fire,” he tweeted after the news got out. And then he tweeted a video you have to watch for yourself. On point for the moment.
He persevered, committed to his teammates and the franchise and had a productive offseason. Then, he was voted into the All-Star game as a third-year player and helped the Pacers to a 10-win improvement.
“Haliburton is a really, really dynamic point guard,” LeBron James said. “Really good, very cerebral out there. … He’s been playing the game this year at an extremely high level.”
Haliburton went on to become the first player in league history to average 20 points and 10 assists per game while shooting 40% from 3-point range. All while making his teammates better.
“Ty is our guy,” team president Kevin Pritchard said in April. “We want Ty here for as long as he wants to be here and I don’t think that that’s going to be too complicated. … Ty is going to be here a long time.
“I’ve never been around a more complete, empathetic, understanding of what the real world is, loving taking care of the small people, truly committed to community lead like him. I’ve never seen it. I’ve never seen a connector like Tyrese ever. Like ever.”
Haliburton is a midwest kid from Oshkosh, Wisconsin and he has family in Indiana. He first touched a basketball when he was a few years old. Years later, he told his father, John, that he was going to play in the NBA. Then after his first few seasons as a pro in Sacramento, he said he’d be an All-Star.
And he was right.
“Pay attention,” John told me in February. “Everything this kid predicted about himself happened so far, so why would I ever doubt him?”
The next thing? He told him he’s winning a championship. But to do so, he’ll need to take another big step and play with an upgraded roster. That’s where the front office comes in.
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The Pacers value Haliburton’s contributions off the court — from building team chemistry and evaluating players to recruiting free agents. It’s a partnership and he sits on the Board of Directors.
He was at the majority of the draft workouts, watching closely.
He’s expected to be in Las Vegas for Summer League.
He’ll host a youth basketball camp in Indy.
Then, he’ll represent the team, himself and his country on Team USA’s World Cup team.
“Ty knows his stuff, in terms of players,” Pritchard said. “He studies it. There’s not many major decisions that I’ll be looking at that he won’t be a part of.
Asked about his ability to recruit players, Haliburton said, “Obviously in any small market, it’s not easy to land free agents. If people see winning basketball being played, they’re gonna want to go there.”
And that’s what he intends to do.
They won 35 games last season and should win more than 40 next. The front office isn’t done tweaking the roster and they still need help with a long, athletic forward.
July 1 was a day, though, that Haliburton has been thinking about for months. His honest tweets were a breath of fresh air. It’s not about the money, but of course it’s about the money. How could you be anything but happy for he and his family?
It’s also a significant day in the franchise’s history.
Haliburton will soon be paid handsomely. But first, he wants to make another leap personally and as a team. He wants to represent the city well in the 3-point contest and All-Star game right here in Indy — and then he wants to finally get a taste of the NBA playoffs.
The Pacers have reached the playoffs since 2020 during the pandemic. That was three head coaches ago.
Make no mistake, Haliburton is not content. As much as he’s celebrating and joking about the money, he’s serious about basketball.
He’s obsessed with it and said he watched nearly every playoff game. He’s hungry for more and is the type of partner the Pacers’ badly needed. Not only does he produce on the court and make teammates better, but the team is also significantly better with him on the court.
Pacers fans and the front office hope that continues through the end of the decade.
“I think that’s one of my best traits, somebody that just loves hard,” he said. “I want to be here, I want to be a part of it.”