The cap-space soon-to-be cleared from agreeing to trade Roy Hibbert to the Los Angeles Lakers made re-signing Rodney Stuckey to a multi-year agreement possible, reports RealGM's Shams Charania:
Rodney Stuckey has agreed in principle on three-year, $21 million deal with the Indiana Pacers, league sources tell RealGM. Year 3 opt out.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 5, 2015
Having previously agreed to a veteran's minimum deal after languishing for several seasons in Detroit, Stuckey rebuilt his playing reputation with the Indiana Pacers last season, where he averaged 12.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.1 assists while shooting a career-best 39.0% from behind the arc.
Though the eight-year NBA veteran reportedly received interest from the Houston Rockets as well as the Washington Wizards, Charania previously reported that Stuckey had "a desire to be in a competing situation again next season," but would "still prioritize a possible return to Indiana where there is strong mutual interest."
Bird too, at the close of the 2014-15 season, had expressed his desire to retain Stuckey, telling the Indy Star, "I think we can get Rodney done. I think it's important for us to get him back here. But we'll see what happens," Bird said. "I know he liked it here. He's a real professional. He does all of his work, he's in here all the time. He lifts after every game. We need guys like Rodney. He was a major plus for our franchise."
A major plus indeed. During the month of February when the Pacers posted a record of 7-2, Indiana's most used bench unit with Stuckey at the helm outscored opponents by 25.5 points per 100 possessions, per NBA.com/stats.
After reaching agreement on a four-year, $44 million deal with dynamic shooting guard Monta Ellis, re-signing Stuckey, without shedding Roy Hibbert's salary, would have been decidedly more difficult in the absence of a deep discount. Instead, Stuckey's salary will now swell from the veteran's minimum to $7 million annually. Which means that the Pacers, in effect, will get much more in return for their two-time All-Star center than a future second-round draft pick or the draft rights of overseas players.
With George Hill joined by Ellis in the starting back court, Stuckey will be free to return to his more natural role as sixth man after starting 36 games for the Pacers last season. In Stuckey, the Pacers retain another guard capable of playing multiple positions. Indiana will likely still need to add a backup point guard after electing to move forward without former reserve guard C.J. Watson, who yesterday agreed to a three-year, $15 million deal with the Orlando Magic.
Unrestricted free agents Jeremy Lin, Aaron Brooks, Mo Williams, and Jameer Nelson as well as restricted free agents Cory Joseph and Norris Cole are a few of the guards still available.