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Report: Pacers sign guard Naz Mitrou-Long to two-way contract

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Both of Indiana’s two-way contracts are filled.

NBA: Utah Summer League-San Antonio Spurs at Cleveland Cavaliers Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers have signed 25-year-old guard Naz Mitrou-Long to their second two-way contract alongside swingman Brian Bowen, reports Shams Charania and Scott Agness of The Athletic.

Mitrou-Long, who was on a two-way contract last season for the Utah Jazz (where he had a reunion of sorts with former college teammate and one-time Pacer Georges Niang), averaged 16.8 points, 5.5 assists, and 5.0 rebounds on 43 percent shooting in four games for the Cavs Summer League team in Las Vegas. In Salt Lake City, the Iowa State-product was a top-five scorer with 15.0 points per game and ranked third in assists (4.0).

Like Niang, Mitrou-Long also has some history with the Pacers, as he suited up for the franchise’s summer league team in 2017-18. Attempting to evolve from a spot-up option into a playmaker in an effort to gain traction in the NBA, the Canadian guard’s assist numbers spiked this summer (5.5 per game) in comparison to his average in Orlando three years ago (0.75).

Barring injuries, with Malcolm Brogdon, Aaron Holiday, and T.J. McConnell already ahead of him in the rotation, Mitrou-Long isn’t a likely candidate to bleed though his 45 days of NBA eligibility, but he could easily slot into a lead guard role for the Mad Ants while the Pacers continue to monitor his progress. In 32 games for the Salt Lake City Stars, the second-year G League player averaged 18.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.8 assists while shooting 33 percent from three on over seven attempts per game, a steep decline from his rookie season when he knocked down 37 percent on staggering volume (9.1 attempts per game).

With both two-way roster spots filled, Indiana’s roster now stands at the league maximum of 17, including the one-year, veteran minimum deal of JaKarr Sampson.

If Sampson sticks beyond training camp, the Pacers won’t possess the same flexibility as they did last season to convert the two-way contracts of either Mitrou-Long or (more likely) Bowen into a standard deal (a la Edmond Sumner).

Without an available two-way contract, C.J. Wilcox, Jakeenan Gant, and Amida Brimah won’t be able to parlay their Exhibit-10 deals into a flex spot with the Pacers, but they could still stay in the pipeline and earn a $50,000 bonus if they’re waived before the start of the season and elect to play for the Mad Ants.