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NBA: MAR 05 Pacers at Bulls

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The Indiana Pacers entered the offseason hoping to add some solid supporting players to their young core; now, the central piece to that core has been secured for the foreseeable future. 

The Pacers signed All-Star Tyrese Haliburton to a 5-year contract extension worth up to $260 million. Haliburton will play this upcoming season on the 4th-year of his rookie scale contract, before the extension kicks in the following year. The move cements Haliburton’s place as the face of the Pacer’s franchise, after he represented Indiana during the NBA Draft, and drove the pace car for this year’s Indianapolis 500.  

For the Pacers, and Pacer fans, this is a big moment. After Paul George and Victor Oladipo forced their ways out of Indiana, having a player so publicly commit to the city and the franchise is a welcome sight. It also signals that the Pacers may be in the process of changing their reputation as a place NBA free agents don’t want to go to.  

Haliburton’s style as an unselfish distributor, who is perfectly willing to pass the ball and let his teammates go to work, proved to be a boon to the careers of Myles Turner and others. Turner specifically had his best season as a pro and was rewarded with a contract extension of his own. Sure, Indiana will never compete with Miami and Los Angeles when it comes to nightlife, off-the-court entertainment, or access to Hollywood and celebrity status. It can, however, be a place where NBA players come to win, and play with a young and exciting group of players.  

Ultimately, Haliburton being extended means the Pacers finally have a long-term direction. After years of futility and players leaving for greener pastures, they finally have a centerpiece they can build around, one that seems perfectly at home here in Indianapolis, and could attract other star players to the Circle City. 

During Wednesday’s edition of The Ride With JMV, John spoke to Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star. They spoke about the Pacers, their offseason, and Haliburton’s extension. Listen to that conversation and more below, and tune into The Ride With JMV from 3-6pm on 93.5/107.5 The Fan!  

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