Indiana Pacers active on the first night of NBA free agency

Doug McDermott and TJ McConnell, Indiana Pacers - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Doug McDermott and TJ McConnell, Indiana Pacers - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Within the first few minutes of NBA Free Agency, the Indiana Pacers agree to a four-year $35 million deal to bring T.J. McConnell back to Indiana. Doug McDermott signs with San Antonio for three years $42 million and Torrey Craig signs a two-year $10 million deal.

For the Indiana Pacers, bringing back McConnell is no surprise to open free agency. Since trading the former first-round draft pick, Aaron Holiday, to the Washington Wizards for the 22nd pick (Isaiah Jackson) on draft night – the pacers needed a McConnell caliber player.

The Indiana Pacers were active on the first night of free agency

McConnell will earn roughly $9 million per year through the 2024-25 NBA season. T.J. provides great value in the backup point guard role and of course a strong defensive presence in the Pacers’ second unit.

TJ’s final year of the deal will be partially guaranteed, J. Michael of reports.

He was a pest on the defensive end throughout the 2020-21 season – averaging 1.9 steals per game and finishing second in steals per game behind Miami Heat guard, Jimmy Butler, who led the league with 2.1 per game.

Although finishing second in steals per game – TJ leads the league in total steals with 128. The Pacers had both the NBA total steals leader and total blocks leader in Myles Turner on the same team last season.

McConnel is not known for his scoring efforts behind the arc – shooting just 31% from deep last season and 32% for his career – but his ability to impact the game in the paint is a different story.

Oftentimes this season, he would drive in the lane and either pass out to an open shooter or pull a quick fadeaway two from ten feet out. He was very efficient in this regard, averaging a whopping 55% from the field on 7.1 attempts.

He had a career season for the Pacers – scoring 8.6 points per game in the 2020-21 season. McConnell is a great backup point guard that can fill in the starter role and will be a great piece both on and off the court for the Pacers and the foreseeable future.

Doug McDermott has signed with the San Antonio Spurs for a three-year $42 million deal. Doug also had a career season last year, scoring a career-high 13.6 points per game.

McDermott became great at attacking the rim this season – often off the Domantas Sabonis DHO – which helped him grow as a scorer.

During his Pacers tenure, McDermott averaged 41.1% from behind the arc and shot 50% from the field.

Fun fact: McDermott’s free throw percentage dropped by one percent each of the three seasons he played in Indiana – starting at 83% in 2018-19 and ending with 81% in 2020-21. 

The Pacers also signed Torrey Craig to a two-year $10 million deal on the first night of free agency. Craig played for both the Milwaukee Bucks and the Pheonix Suns last season – who were both in the NBA finals.

Craig – 30 years old – is entering his fifth NBA season. He is a solid scorer that can defend and help fill that 3/4 spot within the Pacers’ depth chart.

Last season Craig started in 8 games, shot 50% from the field and 36.6% from behind the arc. Although he only played in 50 games – he wouldn’t miss one game throughout the postseason – shooting 42% from the field and 40% from deep.

A solid pick-up on a good deal for the Pacers.

With NBA free agency just beginning, we will see if the Pacers will decide to make any other moves in the coming day/weeks and cover it all here on

Next. Pacers free agency guide for 2021. dark