Indiana is going all-in on the idea of Domantas Sabonis playing the four next to Myles Turner at the five this season. The Pacers have put up the money, now we’re going to see if it can actually work.
After initial struggles to find common ground on a contract extension — leading to reports of the Pacers testing the trade waters for Sabonis — the two sides have come to terms on a four-year contract extension, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and since confirmed by the Pacers.
The exact figures here are still in flux.
How likely those bonuses are remains to be seen.
This is a pretty fair contract number, a little more than $19 million a year average for the man who came in second in the Sixth Man of the Year voting last season seems about right. Plus, if it doesn’t work out with Sabonis starting next to Turner, this is a very tradable contract and there would be interest in his services (he was harder to trade at his $3.5 million current salary and get anything of value to match that smaller number).
The Pacers hope it doesn’t come to that and Sabonis becomes part of one of the better, younger frontcourts in the league.
Sabonis is skilled and versatile on offense, a fantastic pick-and-roll or dribble hand-off guy who sets good screens then he rolls into open space. He’s strong around the basket and plays a crafty, high IQ game.
The concerns with Sabonis, and why some teams are not convinced he’s a starter, are twofold. First, he is not good defensively and is not a rim protector.
The second concern is that he does not space the floor (76.4 percent of his shots came within 10 feet of the basket last season, and he doesn’t make many beyond that range).
Indiana is betting on this core. They have inked big contracts with Turner (four-years, $72 million) and Malcolm Brogdon (four years, $85 million). Victor Oladipo will be coming up for an extension in a couple of years and, if he returns to pre-injury form, is a lock max player. Throw in this Sabonis contract and that is a lot of guaranteed money. Are these guys worth it?
We’ll find out soon enough, the Pacers have gone all-in with them