INDIANAPOLIS – The first five days of NBA free agency are set aside for negotiations. Deals can be agreed upon between teams and players, but they cannot yet be signed.
That period is now over, and the Pacers are making a pair of deals official, signing All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton to a five-year extension worth up to $260 million as well as free agent guard Bruce Brown to a reported two-year deal for $45 million.
The Haliburton deal is the largest ever for a Pacer.
“I don’t really care about stuff like that,” Haliburton said. “For us, it’s just I’m glad that I’m here long term, and that’s what means something to me.”
Though it was a major commitment by the franchise to their new cornerstone, it was also an easy one.
“Sometimes in this business you get great players, and sometimes in this business you get great humans, and then sometimes you get both, and we got both with Ty,” explained Pacers President Kevin Pritchard.
“He saw the possibilities here,” head coach Rick Carlisle continued, “and he has changed the trajectory of this organization.”
With this contract extension, the Pacers are asking Haliburton to be more than just their general on the floor. He’s expected to play a crucial role behind the scenes, which is already evident with his presence at most pre-draft workouts, offering his thoughts to the front office on potential draft picks, and in calling free agent Bruce Brown, helping to convince him to sign with Indiana.
“He called me when free agency started,” Brown recalls. The conversation wasn’t an ultra lengthy one, but it was one where Haliburton gave his “elevator pitch” to a player who just helped the Denver Nuggets win an NBA Championship.
“Just getting out in transition,” Brown explains of his approach to the game. “Being a young team, scoring the ball, and then being on the defensive end, being a defender is how I made my name in this league.”
“I just want to be involved in a lot of decisions,” Haliburton added. “(I) want to be involved in helping bringing the right people around because at the end of the day, I have to make it work on the floor.”
Haliburton made it work last year, earning his first NBA All-Star selection, the first of many more, so this contract would imply, the franchise expects to come.