He'll be looking for a new deal exactly one year from now, and based on his recent play, Dunleavy will be left with a massive pay cut as teams hold off from paying big bucks for a 29-year-old (he'll be 30 in September) swingman who averages less than 10 points per game and can't overcome injuries that have dismantled his past two seasons with the Pacers. He'll make $10.6 million from the blue and gold this season. Unless a miracle happens, he won't touch that number next year.
The Indianapolis Star's Mike Wells has some quotes and thoughts today from Dunleavy on his summer preparation for a bounce-back year. He's played in only 85 games in the past two seasons, and his upcoming ninth season in the league is going to be one of his most important.
"I'm pretty excited about the future," Dunleavy told Wells. "I'll get another summer under my belt where I can get my knee stronger and work on my basketball skills. Being able to play as much as possible is really key. I haven't been able to do that. I thought I was ready to go this season, then I find out right before camp that they have to shut me down a little bit (when an MRI disclosed a knee strain). I didn't really do anything for six weeks besides the swimming pool. That kind of canceled out all the work I put in all summer. I don't want that to happen again."
Wells also pointed out that Dunleavy is used to being one of the coaches' pets. Coach Jim O'Brien loved Dunleavy for his passing skills, which opened up O'Brien's 3-point shooters around the perimeter. But, Dunleavy was not in O'Brien's wheelhouse this year and he found it difficult to even get off the bench.
Dunleavy is expected to use the offseason to play pick-up ball in New York and California.