Indianapolis – While the NBA Draft and trade rumors around Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner have dominated the minds of Pacers fans over the last month, perhaps the most important move President of Basketball of Operations Kevin Pritchard has made was re-signing Jalen Smith to a 2 year extension.
Smith played in 22 games after being acquired by the Pacers in February after being cast to the end of the bench only 3 years after being the #10 pick in the 2020 Draft. In those 22 games, Smith showed his high upside and averaged 13.4 pts and 7.6 reb while shooting 37% from 3 in only 24 minutes per game.
The Pacers found themselves in a difficult spot. Even though they had plenty of cap space, because the Suns declined Smith’s contract option for year 4, the Pacers were limited to what they could offer him in free agency. July 1st came around both Pritchard and Head Coach Rick Carlisle put the full court press on Smith:
I wonder if this dinner helped seal the deal for Jalen Smith to return to the Pacers 🤩 pic.twitter.com/BcZ05npaiX
— Alex Golden (@AlexGoldenNBA) July 2, 2022
The 22 year old gives the Pacers another key member of their young core with a lot of room to grow into an ideal modern NBA stretch 5.
Jalen Smith at just over $4 million a season is highway robbery
Breakout season 🔜pic.twitter.com/77rbX85lV7
— AKRiley (@AKRileyy5) July 2, 2022
107.5 The Fan afternoon host JMV discussed the impact the return of Smith could have on the 2022-23 Pacers, and why both fans and the team should be making a much bigger deal out of the extension than they currently are. Listen to JMV live on 107.5 The Fan from 3-6 Monday-Friday or on the podcast below!