The Pacers have agreed to sign unrestricted free agent forward C.J. Miles to a four-year contract worth $18 million, according to the Indianapolis Star and Yahoo Sports.
Miles, 27, is a nine-year veteran who entered the NBA straight out of high school in 2005. After spending his first seven seasons with the Jazz, Miles signed a two-year, $4.5 million deal with the Cavaliers in 2012. His new contract with Indiana will roughly double his previous annual salary.
The 2013-14 season was one to forget for Miles, who played just 51 games due to a severe ankle injury that forced him to miss almost the final two months of the regular season. Still, Miles averaged 9.9 points and two rebounds while shooting 39.3 percent from deep. A long-armed wing capable of playing either the two or the three, Miles posted a Player Efficiency Rating of 16 last season, which is slightly better than league average. Cleveland used the No. 1 overall pick on Kansas guard/forward Andrew Wiggins, and with reserve scoring guard Dion Waiters also in the fold, retaining Miles didn't appear to be a major priority.
Indiana's interest in Miles is clear: the Pacers were a below-average three-point shooting team last season, and their bench ranked No. 26 in scoring last season. The uncertain future of unrestricted free agent guard Lance Stephenson hangs over the Pacers' depth chart, but Miles could be used in a starting role if Stephenson departs or as a reserve if he re-signs. Adding Miles likely seals the fate of Evan Turner, who was acquired by the Pacers during a midseason trade but was allowed to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Turner never seemed like a great fit in Indiana, and he will almost certainly need to look elsewhere to find a payday this summer.
Grade: B. Assessing this move without knowing Stephenson's future isn't an easy task, and really this grade should be an "incomplete" for the time being. If Miles is being added as depth behind Stephenson, and Indiana is able to keep its starting lineup intact, then this looks like a fairly sound use of resources to fill a gaping hole with a player who is in his prime. If, however, Miles is to function as a Stephenson replacement, then the glimmer wears off a little bit. Miles is a steadier player than Stevenson, but also not nearly as dynamic. The good news: this agreement prevents Indiana from facing the worst-case scenario of scrambling to find a marginal replacement if Stephenson does leave as a free agent.
Although Miles isn't a particularly big name, he was one of the better mid-tier free-agent options at his position this summer. Four years is a long time to commit to an average wing, but at least that time period should represent the prime of Miles' career. Miles shot the ball from outside much better during his two seasons in Cleveland than he did during his Utah days, and Indiana will be banking on that proficiency continuing.