As first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Indiana Pacers are converting the two-way contract of former Ohio State guard Duane Washington into a standard multi-year deal.
The 22-year-old Washington signed an undrafted free agent deal with the Pacers last summer and began the season with Indiana’s G League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. He then worked his way onto the Pacers’ bench, where he’s averaged 9.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 46 games.
Washington set a single-game franchise rookie record with seven three-pointers in a road loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Jan. 24. He then followed that up with a career-high 22 points in a loss at the Dallas Mavericks just five days later, a total he matched again in a loss to the Atlanta Hawks on March 13.
“Duane Washington is always ready,” head coach Rick Carlisle said after the record-breaking effort. “He's had a lot of good games recently. He's really taking advantage of his opportunities. He has a real grateful vibe. Every day he comes in with a smile on his face, a real positive view of the world in general and he loves to play basketball. He loves to work at being a great teammate, and he plays the game in a very pure way.”
Under the two-way contract, Washington was paid a flat rate that is equal to half of the league’s minimum salary. It was not guaranteed, either, so he could have been cut at any time without Indiana incurring any additional costs.
The multi-year contract, meanwhile, rewards Washington for his play this season and keeps him under team control, rather than letting him become a free agent this offseason. The league minimum salary for a player with one year of experience is just under $1.5 million.
Washington, who played for the Buckeyes from 2018-21, is one of five former Ohio State players in the NBA, joining Houston Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate, Minnesota Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell, San Antonio Spurs forward Keita Bates-Diop and Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley.
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