The Indiana Pacers’ 2023-24 salary cap breakdown may look odd at first glance. A newcomer who came off the bench for the NBA champions tops the board, a little-used player counts 6.44% towards the tally and their franchise cornerstone is well down the list, at least for this year. (That will change in a big way starting next season.)
Each NBA team’s salary cap is just over $136 million for the 2023-24 season, but the Pacers have allocated more than $141 million. The NBA’s luxury tax threshold is $165.3 million, so the Pacers are not paying a luxury tax.
They have a $7.72 million mid-level exception available.
Here’s what Pacers players count toward the 2023-24 salary cap, and their contract terms. Figures are from spotrac.com
Bruce Brown Jr., $22 million
Height: 6-4 / Age: 27 / Experience: 6th season
Contract terms: He signed a 2-year free agent deal, with the second year as a $23 million club option.
The Pacers are his fourth team. He was a 2018 second-round draft pick of the Detroit Pistons who also played for the Brooklyn Nets before joining the Denver Nuggets in 2021-22. He averaged 11.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.1 steals while shooting 35.8% on 3-pointers in the regular season. He averaged 12 points, 4 rebounds and 1.1 steals during the Nuggets’ run to the NBA championship.
Welcome to the team: Why the Pacers quadrupled Bruce Brown’s salary
Height: 6-11 / Age: 27 / Experience: 9th season
Contract terms: As part of an extension signed last season, Turner’s 2022-23 salary got bumped to $35 million, but just for that season. His 2024-25 figure is $19.93 million.
One of the NBA leaders in trade rumors is set to start his 9th season with the Pacers. He averaged career highs of 18 points and 7.5 rebounds in 62 games in 2022-23. He added 2.3 blocked shots per game and hit 37.3% of his 3-pointers, the second-best accuracy of his career.
Buddy Hield, $19.28 million
Height: 6-4/ Age: 30 / Experience: 8th season
Contract terms: This is the final year of a 4-year, $94-million contract he signed with the Sacramento Kings. This will be his second full season with the Pacers.
Hield averaged 16.8 points and 5 rebounds per game and made 42.5% of his 3-pointers in 2022-23.
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Height: 6-8 / Age: 31 / Experience: 7th season
Contract terms: The Pacers have a $9.52 million option for 2024-25.
He appeared in seven games in 2022-23 after starting the season on the injured list, and with Jalen Smith and Isaiah Jackson splitting back-up post minutes.
TJ McConnell, $8.7 million
Height: 6-1 / Age: 31 / Experience: 9th season
Contract terms: He will be owed a partially guaranteed $9.3 million in 2024-25. He is entering his fifth year with the Pacers.
McConnell, official pest of the Indiana Pacers, averaged a career-high 8.7 points per game on a career-high 44.1% 3-point shooting in 2022-23, along with 5.3 assists and 1.1 steals.
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Benedict Mathurin, $6.92 million
Height: 6-6 / Age: 21 / Experience: 2nd season
Contract terms: The second-year player is on a rookie deal that carries team options for 2024-25 and ’25-26. The four-year contract totals almost $30 million. He could be a restricted free agent in 2026.
He made an instant impact in 2022-23 as the primary bench scorer until late in the season, when he joined the starting lineup. He averaged 16.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. His aggressiveness yielded 5.8 free throws per game, 25th in the league and second among rookies.
Instant impact: Mathurin named first-team All-Rookie, first since Smits
Obi Toppin, $6.8 million
Height: 6-9 / Age: 25 / Experience: 4th season
Contract terms: He is in the final season of his rookie contract and could be a restricted free agent in 2024. Indiana traded two second-round draft picks to acquire him.
Toppin played three seasons for the New York Knicks as the 8th overall draft pick in 2020. He averaged 7 points and 3 rebounds.
‘It’s going to be fun’: Obi Toppin is looking forward to a fresh start with the Pacers
Jarace Walker, $6.06 million
Height: 6-8 / Age: 20 / Experience: Rookie
Contract terms: The No. 8 overall NBA Draft pick is set to make $6.37 million in 2024-25 with club options the next two seasons that would complete a $27.57 million deal.
The Pacers hope he can help create a tougher defensive presence for the NBA’s worst defensive rebounding team in 2022-23. He averaged 11.2 points and 6.8 rebounds in one season at the University of Houston.
Unselfishness, discipline: Why Jarace Walker may be an ideal Pacers fit
Tyrese Haliburton, $5.81 million
Contract terms: The Pacers and Haliburton agreed to a 5-year maximum contract extension in early July. He is scheduled to earn up to $260 million, counting at least $35.5 million each season starting in 2024-25.
The Pacers previously exercised their fourth-year option for Haliburton for 2023-24, so he is a relative bargain after earning an All-Star berth, averaging 20.7 points and 10.4 assists, and making 40% of his 3-pointers.
No-brainer: Why a $260-million contract for Tyrese Haliburton happened in the blink of an eye
Height: 6-5/ Age: 23 / Experience: 4th season
Contract terms: He is in the last year of his rookie contract and could be a restricted free agent in 2024.
When the Pacers went small last season, Nesmith often ended up defending larger opponents. Although he never backed down from the challenge, Indiana’s rebounding suffered. He averaged 10.1 points per game and made 36.6% of his 3-pointers.
Jalen Smith, $5.04 million
Height: 6-10 / Age: 23 / Experience: 4th season
Contract terms: Smith holds a $5.42 million option for the 2024-25 season.
Smith began the 2022-23 season as the starting power forward, then he and Isaiah Jackson split the backup center minutes for much of the year. Smith averaged 9.4 points and 5.8 rebounds.
Height: 6-8 / Age: 25 / Experience: 4th season
Contract terms: This is the final year of his contract.
He appeared in 24 games after being acquired in a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks, averaging 13 points and 4.7 rebounds, which would be career highs over a full season. He made 42.2% of his 3-pointers with the Pacers.
Isaiah Jackson, $2.97 million
Height: 6-10 / Age: 21 / Experience: 3rd season
Contract terms: The team holds a $4.44 million option for 2024-25, and Jackson could be a restricted free agent in 2025.
Jackson’s usage increased in his second season, and he averaged 7.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots per game.
Height: 6-6 / Age: 22 / Experience: Rookie
Contract terms: Sheppard is set to make $2.66 million in 2024-25, and the team holds options the next two seasons.
Sheppard played four seasons for Belmont, increasing his scoring and 3-point accuracy each season. He averaged 18.8 points on 41.5% 3-point shooting in 2022-23.
Height: 6-5 / Age: 23 / Experience: 2nd season
Contract terms: Nembhard is scheduled to make $2.02 million in 2024-25, and the team holds a $2.19 million option the following season.
He made a much bigger contribution in his rookie season than you’d expect from a second-round pick (albeit the first pick of the second round). He averaged 9.5 points and 4.5 assists per game in 27.6 minutes.
The players are designated members of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the Pacers’ G League affiliate. The Pacers can bring them up.
Oscar Tshiebwe, Isaiah Wong
These players who are not on the roster count towards the Pacers’ salary cap
Nik Stauskas, $702,311; Juan Morgan, $576,230; Malik Fitts, $555,217
This article originally appeared on the Indianapolis Star: Indiana Pacers salaries, team payroll for 2023-24