The Indiana Pacers are exercising Chris Duarte’s $4,124,400 team option for the 2023-24 season. This is part of the four-year, $17.7 million rookie scale contract he signed with the team last August. His deal is fully guaranteed.
The team had until Oct. 31st to make a final decision. If Duarte plays well in the 2022-23 season, Pacers G.M. Chad Buchanan will probably pick up his fourth-year option next year.
Per multiple NBA betting sites, the Pacers possess the sixth-lowest odds to win the championship in 2023. Though, a few sportsbooks are showing a higher probability for the team making the playoffs this season.
As expected, the Pacers are picking up the third-year option on guard Chris Duarte, who averaged 13 points as a rookie, sources tell ESPN. Duarte was the 13th pick in the 2021 Draft.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 12, 2022
Duarte was selected 13th overall by the Pacers in the 2021 NBA Draft. During his rookie season, in 55 appearances, the Oregon product averaged 13.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1 steal per game. He also shot 43.2% from the field and 36.9% from downtown.
Of course, Duarte was then selected to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team.
In his NBA debut on October 20, 2021, the guard scored 27 points in the Pacers’ 123-122 loss against the Charlotte Hornets, setting the franchise record for most points recorded in a rookie debut. He finished 9-of-15 (60%) shooting from the floor and 6-of-9 (66.7%) from 3-point range.
However, Duarte was ruled out for the remainder of the season in April due to a toe injury.
Pacers exercise $4,124,400 team option on Chris Duarte for the 2023-24 season
Additionally, in 54 appearances with Oregon during his NCAA career, the guard averaged 14.9 points, 5.1 boards, and 2.1 assists per contest. Plus, he shot 47.3% from the field and 38% from beyond the arc.
In 28 starts during his freshman 2019-20 season, Duarte logged 12.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.7 steals per game.
Then, the guard recorded career highs of 17.1 points, 2.7 assists, and 1.9 steals per contest in 26 starts of his sophomore season. He shot an impressive 53.2% from the floor and 42.4% from long range as well.
He helped the Ducks reach the Elite Eight round of the NJCAA Division I Tournament.
At the end of the season, Duarte was named Pac-12 Player of the Year – AP. Not to mention, he was selected to the All-Pac-12 First Team and Pac-12 All-Defensive Team.
Moreover, the Pacers have not advanced past the first round of the playoffs since the 2013-14 season. But the team has failed to qualify for the postseason the last two seasons. Under head coach Rick Carlisle, Indiana regressed in the 2021-22 season, winning only 25 games.
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