Rodney Stuckey And Pacers Share Interest For New Deal

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Pacers guard Rodney Stuckey told Tricia Whitaker of Indy Sports Central that he intends to return to the team next season. Stuckey was participating in the seventh annual Dayspring Center mini golf classic in Indiana when he made these comments. The event benefited shelter for the homeless, a great cause for anyone to help out.

Rodney Stuckey had this to say about the event to Indy Sports Central, “I just want to give back and be involved.

Stuckey will become an unrestricted free agent at the beginning of July. Last season was a big success for the Pacers and Stuckey, so it is really not that surprising at all that he has interested in returning to the team. It is highly likely that the Pacers are very interested in re-signing Rodney Stuckey, especially based on the comments that Larry Bird made at the team’s season finale press conference.

Rodney Stuckey told Indy Sports Central about his desire to return to the Pacers. 

Obviously, I hope to be back here and I think we’ll figure something out.  I’m not really worried about that. I love the Pacers organization and I love my teammates. Next year, we will be a lot healthier and we’ll make the playoffs, so I’m excited.

Based on Rodney Stuckey’s comments to Indy Sports Central, it appears that it is up to the Pacers to bring him back. Because of the salary cap situation that the team has, Indiana may very well use some of their MLE to get a deal done with Stuckey. After coming off a season where he was paid the veteran’s minimum, it only makes sense that he would want more than that but there has been no official comment regarding an amount.

Indiana Pacers’ President of Basketball Operations, Larry Bird, had to say this at the team’s season finale press conference about Rodney Stuckey’s future with the team:

I think we can get Rodney done.  I think it’s important for us to get him back here, but we’ll see what happens. I know he liked it here.  He’s a real professional.  We need guys like Rodney.”

There is genuine interest between both parties. The only problem would be the money if there was one. Indiana has $5.5 million in MLE, $2.1 million in bi-annual exception, $605,498 in projected cap space, and $15,105,498 in projected luxury tax room, so the team certainly has the assets necessary to re-sign Stuckey. They may have the assets to re-sign Stuckey, but it might be tight to bring back other free agents like Donald Sloan or Lavoy Allen under their current cap space.

Indiana basically never likes to come close to the luxury tax line, mainly because it helps the team with gaining exceptions like the bi-annual exception and the MLE. However, now would be the time to go over the salary cap and utilize their luxury tax room since the league’s salary cap is expected to rise by $22 million next season. That would be up to the owner, which Herb Simon is very reluctant to open up his check book for the team so it is highly unlikely that it would happen.

If the team is serious about building a title contender around Paul George for this upcoming season, they will have to utilize their luxury tax room. It has been shown that all roads go through Cleveland for the Eastern Conference, so Indiana needs to gather enough fitting talent to beat them. Using their tiny amount of cap space and their exceptions to re-sign reserves won’t likely get that done.

Also, the team will have the 11th and 41st overall selections in the June 25th NBA Draft. Those selections will be very crucial since they are extremely cheap salaries for talented young players. Depending on the first-round pick, the team could upgrade one of the starting positions for next season. With the second-round pick, the team could either trade it for more assets, or they could potentially draft a key reserve that could one day blossom into something special.

This is all assuming that the highly likely will happen, that David West and Roy Hibbert accept their final year player options. David West ($12,600,000) and Roy Hibbert ($15,105,498) would open up a ton of cap space if they were to opt out, which would drastically alter the potential for the team to make big moves this off-season. However, it is almost a lock that both players will accept their options.

Rodney Stuckey and the Indiana Pacers both want to be together for next season and beyond, luckily for both sides, Indiana has the assets to get that done. Now, Indiana will just have to make sure that they are still somehow able to re-sign some of their key bench players like Donald Sloan and Lavoy Allen. It is all possible, especially since none of the players really are demanding a lot of money. The MLE and bi-annual exception will help the team bring back key talent, even with their tight salary cap situation, so there is nothing to worry about.