Pacers’ president Keven Pritchard said he wishes the seven-year player all the best.
INDIANAPOLIS – Kevin Pritchard’s plan to transform the Indiana Pacers into a younger team continued Sunday. Pritchard’s latest step in the Pacers’ “rebirth” was adding Cory Joseph to the roster.
The Pacers agreed in principal to acquire Joseph, a 25-year-old point guard, from the Toronto Raptors via trade, a league source confirmed to IndyStar. In exchange, the Pacers will sign veteran forward C.J. Miles to a three-year, $25 million contract and then trade him to the Raptors. The trade could be completed as soon as Monday.
With the addition of Joseph, the Pacers appear to have found a strong replacement for their backup point guard position.
In six seasons, Joseph has developed into a reliable guard off the bench. He has also improved his scoring average in every season of his career. He averaged 9.3 points and 3.3 assists in 80 games last season with the Raptors.
For Pritchard, the Pacers’ new team president, Joseph, in many ways, fits within his desire to build a team of young, talented players who can develop, build chemistry and win together for sustained success in the future. The Pacers were intrigued by Joseph because they believe he has yet to reach his full potential with his previous teams.
Joseph has been known as a winner in the NBA. He began his career with the San Antonio Spurs, and was a contributor when the Spurs won the NBA championship in 2014.
During Joseph’s two seasons with Toronto, the Raptors reached the playoffs and made the Eastern Conference finals in 2016. Joseph improved his 3-point shooting percentage as his role increased. He has also been a tenacious defender off the bench, a trait Toronto coach Dwane Casey praised Joseph for being willing to play the correct way.
“Cory Joseph has been great, he’s got the high motor, he can go from 0-100 off the bench quickly and he’s one of our toughest guys,” Casey said April 2016. “It’s a huge luxury to have a guy like that.”
With his third team, Joseph will join the Pacers’ young core of Myles Turner, Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, Glenn Robinson III, Lance Stephenson and rookie T.J. Leaf.
The point guard position has been one of change this offseason for the Pacers.
Jeff Teague, an Indianapolis native, signed a three-year, free-agent deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Aaron Brooks, a nine-year veteran, is an unrestricted free agent and is not expected to re-sign with the Pacers. Darren Collison rejoined the Pacers on a two-year contract earlier this week to be the team’s starting point guard.
The Raptors were willing to trade Joseph and his $7.6 million contract for next season as a necessary move to remain a contender in the Eastern Conference. Last week, Toronto re-signed Kyle Lowry, its starting point guard, to a three-year, $100 million contract. The team also re-signed forward Serge Ibaka to a three-year, $65 million deal.
Before the Raptors’ and Pacers’ deal can be completed, Toronto must compete its agreed trade with the Brooklyn Nets. That deal is agreed in principal after the Washington Wizards match Brooklyn’s $106 million max contract offer sheet for restricted free agent Otto Porter Jr. All those deals could be completed Monday.
The trade for Joseph could be one of the final major moves for the Pacers in an offseason full of them. Indiana now has 14 players with guaranteed contracts on the roster. The Pacers will begin Monday with a little less than $6 million left in salary cap space based on projections.
In May, Miles opted out of the final year of his contract with the Pacers, which was projected to be $4.7 million for next season, to become a free agent.
Miles, a 30-year-old small forward, produced one of his most consistent seasons last year. In 76 games, he averaged 10.7 points and three rebounds per game. He also shot a career-high 41.3 percent on 3-pointers and 90.3 percent on free throws. In an era where shooting has become crucial to team success, Miles expected to sign a lucrative, multiyear deal as a free agent.
Bojan Bogdanovic, a 28-year-old small forward, agreed to a two-year, $21 million deal with the Pacers on Friday. Bogdanovic’s best skill — a reliable perimeter shooter — is the same as Miles’.
Bogdanovic’s agreement with the Pacers signaled the end of Miles’ tenure in Indiana.
The Pacers began sign-and-trade discussions involving Miles last week with several teams, including the Raptors and the Timberwolves. Miles, according to the Associated Press, wanted the Timberwolves to agree to a deal with the Pacers. The Timberwolves, however, were unwilling to send a future first-round pick to the Pacers to make the trade work for both teams.
The Raptors, eager to add a consistent perimeter shooter, became the best trade option once the Timberwolves were no longer a consideration. Once media reports of the trade surfaced Sunday afternoon, Miles acknowledged his upcoming move to Toronto and thanked Pacers fans on his Twitter account.
“Indianapolis I just want to thank you for the love and support shown to me the past 3 years,” Miles wrote. “I am truly appreciative of every single cheer.”
Call IndyStar reporter Nate Taylor at (317) 444-6484. Follow him on Twitter: @ByNateTaylor.
Insiders Nate Taylor and Clifton Brown examine changes to the Pacers roster.
Nate Taylor, Clifton Brown/IndyStar
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