Pacers, Daniel Theis agree to contract buyout
Theis, 31, is healthy and ready to contribute to a team, but he's only appeared in one Pacers game this season.
Daniel Theis’ time with the Pacers is officially over.
The 6-foot-8 center reached agreement with the Pacers on a contract buyout, the team announced on Wednesday afternoon, which will allow for him to pursue an opportunity elsewhere.
Theis was downgraded to out due to personal reasons on Tuesday afternoon, hours ahead of the Pacers’ in-season tournament win over Philadelphia.
I first mentioned this exit possibility in my mailbag column last week and it became clear over the last few days that it was going to happen. Theis is planning to join the LA Clippers (pending a medical evaluation), according to league sources, to help bolster the frontcourt as Mason Plumlee misses time with a left MCL sprain.
“I’m healthy,” he said in training camp. “I have no issues at all.”
His contract for this season is worth $9.1 million, part of a four-year deal he signed in 2021 with the Houston Rockets. By buying Theis out, the Pacers save some money and will have one available roster spot.
Theis, 31, is healthy and feeling the best that he has in recent seasons. He’s coming off a memorable offseason where he started on the Germany National Team that won a gold medal in the FIBA World Cup for the first time.
“This summer brought me new joy and love for basketball in a way after a tough season last year,” he said. “I enjoy playing basketball and competing.”
He was sidelined for most of last season, his first with the Pacers, due to persistent soreness in his right knee that led to him having a unique procedure.
He then made his Pacers debut in February and appeared in seven games before being shut down for the season as the team prioritized minutes for younger players.
“It was tough,” he acknowledged. “Coming back from the knee surgery, you’re getting ready to play and then their decision to not play (me) and go in a different direction for the rest of the season.
“I’m a competitor, I want to play. That also (gave) me new motivation after the season. I was all about me this summer; I didn’t listen to any outside noise in a way of what’s gonna happen next year, I was just day by day. I started with mental coaching and training, nutrition, I changed my routine with weight lifting…”
Theis said he lost 15 pounds over the summer to be more explosive and feel like himself again — healthy, fit and play how he wants to play.
Then this season, he was back to being fourth on the depth chart at center behind Myles Turner, Jalen Smith and Isaiah Jackson. The only game he's played in was last week, nine minutes in a home win against the Milwaukee Bucks.
“He’s a pro,” head coach Rick Carlisle said of Theis recently. “He came in yesterday and was in the gym for an hour and a half busting his ass. I have no problems with Theis. The guy won the World Cup this summer, he came in and had a good training camp and things have fallen the way things have fallen.”
Theis was included in a trade package received from the Celtics in July, 2022 that sent Malcolm Brogdon to Boston. Swingman Aaron Nesmith is the last man standing. Brogdon has already been moved to Portland.