The Pacers have waived Elijah Stewart and Omari Johnson, the team announced on Wednesday. With Ben Moore potentially still awaiting his fate, the roster sits at 16 players (including two-way player Edmond Sumner). Though there still hasn’t been any official word on injured sharpshooter C.J. Wilcox, the 6-foot-5 wing was never listed on the training camp roster, which suggests that the Pacers may now or eventually have an available two-way contract up for grabs.
Sumner, who impressed during preseason play with his explosive change of speed and improved finishing touch in addition to his physical attributes while filling in at both guard positions, might well be primed to shake things up however.
Currently inked to a two-way contract, the 6-foot-5 slasher can only spend 45 days (not games) with the Pacers. While the days before the start of G League training camp and those after the G League regular season don’t count toward the 45-day maximum, it is nonetheless possible that the potential diamond in the rough could rapidly exceed the designated allotment if he ends up needing to provide injury insurance or the team decides they want to regularly foster his development first-hand at practices.
In that event, Indiana’s front office will need to open a spot (presumably Moore’s) on the 15-man roster in order to convert his two-way contract to a guaranteed deal.
As for Stewart and Johnson, their affiliation with the Pacers may not yet be over.
Both players signed an Exhibit-10 contract, which means they’ll earn a $50,000 bonus if they report to the Mad Ants.
Stewart, USC’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made, played in two preseason games for the Pacers and scored seven points in 26 minutes. Johnson, who shot 41.7 percent from three on 7.4 perimeter attempts per game with the Memphis Hustle last season, logged 12 minutes of action against the Grizzlies. He went 0-of-5 from the field, but added five rebounds and a assist.
Assuming Moore is later waived to maintain roster flexibility and no other team claims him or signs him as a free agent before the end of camp, his ability to continue his journey in Fort Wayne will depend upon the dollar amount on his partial guarantee. By league rule, if Moore earned more than $50K with Indiana at training camp, he won’t be able to play for the Mad Ants during the 2018-19 season.
Moore only attempted three shots in 25 minutes during preseason, but he once again demonstrated the nose he has for the ball, tallying six rebounds and two steals.
Given that C.J. Wilcox is expected to miss the entire season after suffering a torn right Achilles during an offseason workout, the fact that he hasn’t officially been released could be an indicator that the Pacers intend to monitor the waiver wire while counting the days he rehabs with the team’s medical staff toward his 45 days so he can still earn the prorated portion of his salary.
With preseason house keeping near to complete, the Pacers can focus their attention on opening the regular season at home on Wednesday against the Memphis Grizzlies.