The Indiana Pacers made one of the first big splashes in 2023 NBA free agency by signing Denver Nuggets bench star Bruce Brown Jr. to a shockingly lucrative offer for the five-year veteran.
Friday at 6 PM ET, free agency officially kicked off, and entering this year’s market the Indiana Pacers were one of the few teams with enough money to land a legitimate impact player. Over the last week, the team was linked to Sacramento Kings swingman Harrison Barnes and seen as a favorite for his services.
However, the Kings surprisingly re-signed him on Thursday and took Indiana out of the running. With Barnes off the board, the Pacers instead decided to use a chunk of their available money on a different, smaller swingman from the world-champion Denver Nuggets.
Indiana Pacers give Bruce Brown Jr. massive $45 million deal
Soon after NBA free agency opened on Friday, ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that “Bruce Brown has agreed on a two-year, $45M deal with the Indiana Pacers.” It is an impressive amount for a player that earned just over $15 million during his entire career in the NBA. Playing for teams like the Nuggets, Brooklyn Nets, and Detroit Pistons.
Brown has been a solid reserve talent over the last few seasons, however, he took his game to a valuable level over the last year as he was the Nuggets’ best bench player during a season where the franchise secured their first-ever NBA title.
In 2022-2023, Bruce Brown Jr. tallied career highs in minutes, shots, points, and free three percentage. He is a unique player in that despite only being 6-foot-4, he plays far bigger, is a strong rebounder, and is a well-rounded talent. While he doesn’t make the Indiana Pacers a playoff team next season, he is definitely a good addition for a young group with a lot of upside in the Eastern Conference.
- Bruce Brown stats (’22-’23): 11.5 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.1 SPG, 36% 3PT
Nevertheless, the deal is a huge contract for a player that has a ceiling and is unlikely to become an All-Star in the league. It is a good move for a player that reportedly had a lot of interest but is still a big salary cap risk over the next four seasons.