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Pacers waive Al Jefferson’s partially guaranteed contract

Indiana’s brass made another move in a series of moves to clear cap space — for something.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Indiana Pacers Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers have waived veteran mentor Al Jefferson, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

Jefferson, who watched more games last season than he played, kept himself ready when called upon and the improvement of his stamina in tandem with his throwback combination of footwork, ball fakes, and soft touch allowed him to teach some memorable lessons to a handful of the league’s young bigs from the low-block in his role as adjunct professor.

Behind-the-scenes, meanwhile, he answered the bell with intangibles — from challenging his teammates in an appropriate way and playing 4-on-4 with the young players to talking down Lance Stephenson, giving Domantas Sabonis tips on how to read double-teams, and staying in the ear of Myles Turner to take it personally and leverage his size against switches.

“Al brought a lot of value just because he was great in our locker room,” Pritchard said of Jefferson following the season.

Even so, Jefferson’s lack of mobility got picked on mercilessly on defense in sparse playing time, and only $4 million of the locker room patrolman’s $10 million salary for next season was guaranteed.

Per Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights, “Indiana has $9.1 million in space right now, can max out at $13.5 million before stretching Jefferson, and $16.2 million if they do stretch him.”

Ike Anigbogu is the next man up at third-string center, but he is sidelined from playing with the team’s summer league squad after undergoing offseason knee surgery and it’s possible he may not be ready for training camp.

It remains to be seen whether it was mere coincidence that the Pacers waived Jefferson around the same time as it was announced that the Lakers had renounced Julius Randle, making him an unrestricted free agent.