With only five days remaining until training camp, Indiana’s roster continues to take shape. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, local collegiate product Kelan Martin has reached agreement with the Pacers on a two-year deal.
After a standout career at Butler, in which the 6-foot-5, 230-pound wing averaged over 21 points per game during his senior season and earned all-Big East honors, Martin went undrafted and started his pro career in Germany before splitting time between the G League and Minnesota Timberwolves last season on a two-way contract.
According to defensive versatility metrics compiled by Krishna Narsu of Nylon Calculus and Andrew Patton of The BBall Index, Martin spent at least 25 percent of his floor time in 31 games with Minnesota defending the 2, 3, and 4 positions, which suggests he may be able to lend Justin Holiday a hand in sparring with bigger forwards without giving up mobility on the perimeter. On the season, the Timberwolves only gave up 103.1 points per 100 possessions when Martin was on the floor, a mark far lower than the team’s overall defensive rating (111.6); however, the most common lineup he was part of also included Robert Covington and Jarret Culver, both of whom are known for being defensive-minded.
Offensively, Martin struggled to find his shooting stroke with Minnesota, hitting on just 31 percent of his threes when called up on assignment. That said, given that the 25-year-old converted 38 percent of his tries in the G League after shooting 36 percent on 7.5 attempts per game as a senior, there’s reason to believe he could prove to be a better shooter at the next level than he’s shown thus far in small sample size.
With Martin, the Pacers *technically* have 15 players under contract for next season, not counting second-round pick Cassius Stanley or Exhibit 10 deals with shot-blocking big man Amida Brimah and lefty power forward Rayshaun Hammonds. Despite being a two-year deal, no details were given on whether Martin’s contract is fully guaranteed for both seasons, but Kevin Pritchard indicated during Wednesday’s media availability that he wants to have open competition for the last spot or two on the roster.
“I don’t want to give out another guarantee,” Pritchard said prior to committing to Martin. “I’m OK with maybe a partial (guarantee), but we need to have some real high-level competition with those last players and that gets them ready for the G League potentially. I want the ability, if a player impresses, to put them on the roster full-time.”
Per ESPN’s Bobby Marks, before reaching agreement with Martin, Indiana was $1.12 million below the tax, with contracts for players with one-year of service valued at $1.45 million. Jalen Lecque, who the Pacers acquired from Oklahoma City in exchange for TJ Leaf and a second-round pick, signed a four-year contract as an undrafted rookie in Phoenix last season with two years guaranteed.