The Indiana Pacers made moves this week to strengthen their team with 10 days left before the NBA season.
The sale started on Wednesday when the Pacers removed the two ways of guarding the Trevelin Queen. Queen, 26, has been there in two ways starting from the training campbut spent most of his time with Indiana’s G League team, Fort Wayne Mad Nyerere.
In seven appearances with the Pacers, Queen averaged 3.0 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. He just made it
Two-way contracts aren’t a problem, so Queen didn’t count the Pacers’ salary this season. There is no punishment for the Pacers, either. They only open up two options by leaving the 26-year-old, although his contract is guaranteed and he will be paid in full.
“Trevelin is a great player. He can definitely score the ball. A great teammate, in my opinion.” Pacers Center Jalen Smith, who was close to Queen since both players are from Maryland, said. “He couldn’t find his way here. I have no doubt that he will find another place soon.”
Queen was not needed at the pro level as the Pacers have been healthy for a long time this season, so he played 35 games for the Mad Ants, averaging 23 points per game. He was stopped in the team’s last game, the last loss was to Capital City.
With an open two-way position, the Pacers were able to add another player. Anyone who has completed three years of NBA service is eligible for a two-way contract, so the team had plenty of options.
The Pacers front office has called up a member of the Mad Ants almost every season of their tenure, so it was reasonable to assume that they were looking for their G League club to fill their newly opened roster spot, especially with the Mad Ants season. ending on Tuesday. And that’s what the team ended up doing – Thursday, a The Pacers signed guard Gabe Yorkwho has spent the entire season so far with Fort Wayne.
York spent a few days with the Pacers during his rookie season in 2021-22. He averaged 4.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game in two games while shooting 28.6% from the field. He started in the NBA when he was 28 years old.
He used that time to grow and develop, and spent last summer in Indianapolis working with Pacers players. That took his game to the next level, and he averaged 22.1 points per game in the G League this season while shooting 39% from long range on nearly nine shots per game. York was a disappointment for the Mad Ants – winning G League Player of the Week multiple times.
“Loyalty and consistency have to be rewarded,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said of the team that signed York. “The management and coaching staff completely agreed that Gabe was the right fit for this opportunity.”
That said, York will get more time at the NBA level, and is a better player than he was the last time he got the call. The point guard should be a big standout for the Pacers down the stretch.
It’s unclear what York’s role will be, especially on an Indiana team with multiple guards, but he should help in the scoring department at any time. They are able to get the playing time that has been there recently to veteran George Hill.
Note that York may be active in his team’s final three games. This year, two-way contract rules allow players to play 50 out of 82 games throughout the season, and this number is applied to two players every time they sign. Such a ratio would allow York to be active on the floor 3.05 times a game, meaning that he is allowed to take action from the three.
“I hope he’s available for three of the last five games … we’ve got to decide which games he’s going to be in,” Carlisle said.
York will make half of the first-year NBA minimum salary for his two-way contract. It will not count against the salary cap of the Pacers, who have a full roster and are on the payroll for the 2022-23 season.
The Pacers are 33-44 and technically still in the playoff race in the Eastern Conference. They are in a development mode down the season, and York not knowing is part of that.