The Indiana Pacers and veteran big man Tristan Thompson are going their separate ways.
The Pacers announced that they are waiving the center on Thursday, making it official. But the move was initially announced by head coach Rick Carlisle Wednesday night just after Indiana played Washington.
“He’s going to be joining a different team,” Carlisle said after the game. He added that Thompson will join the Chicago Bulls. “We thanked him for what he’s brought for the last six or seven days. He brought a high level of professionalism. He’s done a really good job.”
The coach alluded to a small number of days because Thompson was acquired by the Pacers just over one week ago — he was part of a massive trade between Sacramento and Indiana. Thompson was with the blue and gold for just nine days, and he played in only four games for the franchise.
Still, in that quartet of games he provided the team with some value. The 11-year vet posted averages of 7.3 points 4.5 rebounds in those games, he was needed in the rotation with multiple centers injured for the team from the Circle City. On top of that, Thompson supplied the now-young Pacers with veteran wisdom and helped make the transition from Sacramento to Indiana easier for teammates Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton.
“He’s helped guide me, and our conversations have been amazing,” Haliburton said of Thompson.
“Hell of a way to go out,” Haliburton added. Thompson had 17 points and six rebounds in his final game with the Pacers, which came in a victory.
While Thompson gave Indiana some key minutes in the last week, he was likely not going to be needed by Carlisle’s team going forward. Once the NBA All-Star break ends, a group of Pacers big men including Myles Turner, Goga Bitadze, and Isaiah Jackson could return to game action, meaning Thompson wouldn’t have been in the Pacers rotation. He will have more value in Chicago.
To make this move happen, the Pacers bought Thompson out of his contract. Essentially, Thompson agreed to decrease the salary he had guaranteed from the Pacers knowing that he would make that money back once he signs with Chicago. Indiana gains a roster spot and some financial freedom, Thompson gets to switch teams to a title contender without losing any cash, and the Bulls get needed depth at center. It’s a win-win-win move.
“His experience and the things that he taught us, we are going to hold on to that going forward,” Pacers forward Oshae Brissett said of Thompson. He mentioned that the team thanked the 2016 NBA Champion for his help.
Indiana now has a roster spot as well as some financial wiggle room to potentially add a player. Buying out Thompson distanced the Pacers from the luxury tax, so they may bring in another body.
While there are several young free agents who could get a deal from the blue and gold, perhaps what the Pacers decide to do is promote one of their two-way contract players to the standard roster. Forward Terry Taylor and guard Duane Washington have both given Indiana quality minutes throughout the season, and they are more than worthy of a call-up to the main roster. Doing so would also allow the Pacers to bring in a new team member on a two-way deal in the place of whichever player gets the promotion.
Taylor, in particular, has been impressive of late. He’s posted averages of 12.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game over his last ten appearances while shooting over 59% from the field. His rebounding is excellent for a player of his size, and his finishing around the basket has made the Pacers better.
Taylor said that he loved the little pointers that Thompson gave him while with the Pacers. But he’s equally excited to go back to being the only player on the roster with the “TT” nickname. “Big confusion,” Taylor said when asked about two players sharing the moniker for nine days.
What the Pacers do with the open roster spot and additional funds has yet to be determined. Those decisions will likely be made later in the All-Star break so that the front office can maximize their savings. But they have options, and the current Indiana brass loves options.
Thompson gave the Pacers exactly what they needed for a four-game stretch, but his age and skillset didn’t fit with what the blue and gold required for the rest of the season. Moving on from him is good business. Now, Indiana is set up to make more moves that improve their roster going forward.
#Tristan #Thompson #Indiana #Pacers #Agree #Contract #Buyout #Freeing #Roster #Spot #Indiana