Report: 'Prevailing notion' around NBA that Indiana Pacers will look to extend contract of T.J. McConnell

McConnell is entering the final season of his contract
Dec 2, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA;  Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell (9) talks with official Tony Brothers (25) during the second half at Kaseya Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 2, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell (9) talks with official Tony Brothers (25) during the second half at Kaseya Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
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According to a report from Michael Scotto in HoopsHype, there is a 'prevailing notion' around the NBA that the Indiana Pacers will try to sign T.J. McConnell to a contract extension.

McConnell just wrapped up an excellent season with the Pacers, so it's natural that the team would want to lengthen his agreement. He started the campaign out of the rotation but proved to be a vital player, averaging 10.2 points and 5.5 assists per game this season.

He is eligible for a four-year contract extension this summer worth up to about $80 million, depending on a few free agency factors. Any new deal could be shorter in length or for less total money so long as it fits in those parameters. McConnell's last contract was a four-year agreement worth $33.6 million.

He turned 32 years old in March, and that was around the time his season really changed. After Bennedict Mathurin went down with a shoulder injury, McConnell became one of the best scorers off the bench in the NBA — he averaged 13.9 points per game across the Pacers last 19 outings.

General manager Chad Buchanan said that he believes McConnell's value to the team is very high and that he would hate to lose the veteran guard. "We'd love to keep T.J. as a Pacer for life," Buchanan said during a radio interview earlier this offseason.

McConnell finished in seventh-place in Sixth Man of the Year voting. His ability to score efficiently and pass was important, but perhaps more useful is that McConnell can execute Indiana's fast-paced style even when star guard Tyrese Haliburton is out of the game. That's hard to do — not many reserve point guards could do that.

"Phenomenal year for T.J.," Buchanan said. "I don't know what you can say more about T.J., what he has meant to this team. Beloved by his teammates, his coaches, the staff, the fans. He's what you want an Indiana Pacer to be about."

Even after his career year, McConnell thought the team's success was more important than his individual success. That attitude is part of why the Pacers value him so highly. His locker room presence is as important as his on-court play.

"To play alongside the group in games like [the Eastern Conference Finals], it was a great feeling," McConnell said.

McConnell's $9.3 million cap hit is only guaranteed for $5 million this season, but Indiana will certainly not waive him. If the team wants McConnell beyond the coming season and doesn't want to risk free agency next summer, then a contract extension could make sense. The veteran guard becomes eligible for an extension on July 6.


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Tony East

TONY EAST

Tony East is the Publisher of AllPacers. He has previously written for Forbes Sports, the West Indianapolis Community News, WTHR, and more while hosting the Locked On Pacers podcast.