New NBA rule could cost Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton $50 million

The NBA's new game-minumum rule for All-NBA voting could impact Indiana Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton $50 million on his next contract.
Indiana Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton, All-NBA
Indiana Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton, All-NBA / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

Nobody considered the financial implications of Tyrese Haliburton's splits against the Boston Celtics on January 8 as he exited the game in the arms of teammates James Johnson and Buddy Hield.

A towel was draped over his head to hide the rush of frustrating emotion that follows serious injuries, and Gainbridge Fieldhouse fell quiet in solitary support of their newly ascended star.

Three weeks later, the Indiana Pacers and surrounding supporters are anything but quiet. As the realization settles that Haliburton could fall short of the games-played requirement for All-NBA selections, questions regarding the NBA's new 65-game requirement for end-of-season awards are bubbling to the surface.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NBA's Player Association and the league itself was renewed and enacted in July of 2023. The 65-game requirement was introduced in this new CBA as an effort to combat the load management of superstar players.

The rule allows players to miss just 17 games, and Haliburton's missed-game total is 13. Not only could Haliburton miss All-NBA this season, but his new contract begins this offseason as well--a contract that includes an escalator should he be selected for an All-League team. (H/t James Boyd of The Athletic)

"“I think it’s a stupid rule, like plenty of the guys in the league, but this is what the owners want, so as players, we gotta do our job and play in 65 games if we’re able to. So, that’s what I gotta do, take care of my body to be able to play in those games, and I think you’re seeing other players in the league kind of face the same thing. As long as the owners are happy.”"

Tyrese Haliburton

Haliburton acknowledged the minimum game threshold after practice on Monday, stating, "I think it's a stupid rule like many guys in the league, but this is what the owners want so us as players, we've got to do our job."

If Haliburton is not selected to an All-NBA team, he loses out on nearly $50 million.

Head coach Rick Carlisle recently expressed his frustration with the In-Season Tournament Final not counting as a game toward the needed mark during an appearance on 1075 The Fan's "The Wake Up Call with KB &Andy."

"“If you get to the finals of the In-Season Tournament, you’re playing in a game that doesn’t count. It doesn’t count as a win or a loss. You’re playing in a game that is an enormous revenue generator for the game and for the league, you know? Why shouldn’t that game be counted as a game played?”"

Rick Carlisle

As the NBA's leading vote-getter for Eastern Conference guards in 2024 All-Star voting, Haliburton is indisputably a top-5 guard in the NBA. He ranked first for fan voting, player voting, and media voting.

He leads the league in assists per game with 12.6 - nearly two assists per game more than second-place Trae Young. To leave a player of his caliber off of the All-League teams due to a legitimate injury would be devastating.

Frustrations with the rule loom as the back half of the NBA season approaches. Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid finds himself in danger of missing end-of-season awards for the same availability concerns.

"“I’m human like you guys. I use the internet as well. I completely understand it, and I understand what’s at stake for me financially as well. But at the end of the day, I also gotta take care of my body to the best of my ability and put myself in the right situations. So yeah, I know I don’t have a ton of games left.”"

Tyrese Haliburton

Next. 3 Trade targets for Pacers to form Big 3 with Haliburton, Siakam. 3 Trade targets for Pacers to form Big 3 with Haliburton, Siakam. dark

Haliburton returned to action on Tuesday against the Boston Celtics, but he'll have to play it safe moving forward, grappling between reaching the 65-game mark and keeping himself healthy.