Pacers waive Chase Budinger, whose time with the Pacers didn’t go as planned

Pacers President Larry Bird with two Arizona Wildcat teammates brought in last July, Jordan Hill and Chase Budinger.

Pacers President Larry Bird with two Arizona Wildcat teammates brought in last July, Jordan Hill and Chase Budinger.

Chase Budinger’s time with the Pacers was short-lived. The Pacers waived the 6-foot-7 forward Saturday morning after he played in 49 games this season, the team announced.

The Pacers acquired Budinger from Minnesota in exchange for Damjan Rudež, who they brought over from Croatia last season.

The Pacers planned for the seventh-year wing to step in at small forward when Paul George played the four. Remember, the whole conversation over the offseason was getting George — despite his hesitancy — minutes at power forward and for him to take advantage of matchups?

Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird after the trade: “He’s a guy we think will fit in our rotation. He can shoot and drive to the basket, which works with how we want to play.”

Chase Budinger played 49 games with the Pacers. [Photo: Frank McGrath/PS&E]

Chase Budinger played 49 games with the Pacers. [Photo: Frank McGrath/PS&E]

Pacers coach Frank Vogel liked how well Budinger ran in transition and the idea of him spacing the floor by knocking down open shots from outside.

Only it didn’t exactly work out that way.

Budinger’s averages over 49 games with the Pacers are the lowest of his career: 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. He shot 41.8 percent, including a disappointing 29 percent (20-of-69) from range.

[VIDEO: Budinger discusses his early shooting slump]

Granted, he didn’t get a ton of looks but his 3-point percentage was sixth (!!!) on the team. While in the rotation, he averaged almost 15 minutes per game.

(Rudež, by the way, had made almost as many 3-pointers — 15 to Budinger’s 20 — in one-third the total number of minutes.)

In the middle of the season, Budinger fell out of the rotation. Coach Vogel elected to play Solomon Hill and Glenn Robinson III over the 27-year-old. During a nine-game stretch from Jan. 23 to Feb. 8, Budinger played one minute total.

He would later be needed because of injuries to rotational guys, first Rodney Stuckey and then C.J. Miles. The latter delayed the time in which the Pacers would cut ties.

See Also: Budinger odd many out as Solomon Hill earns playing time

On a positive note, Budinger was not among the eight Pacers to miss game time due to injury this season. That’s especially notable because injuries plagued his time in Minnesota (2012-2015). Budinger missed 115 of 246 regular season games while with the Timberwolves, mostly because of ongoing knee issues.

Through it all, he was a professional in the locker room and was always willing to talk.

With Budinger waived on Saturday, he should clear waivers by Monday and then he plans to sign with the Phoenix Suns, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

Because he was not waived by the March 1 deadline, he’s not eligible for postseason play. That won’t matter with the Suns, who have the third-worst record in The Association (16-46). It’s an opportunity to boost his stats ahead of free agency this summer, and he can enjoy the sunshine.

Meantime, the Pacers are planning to sign point guard Ty Lawson at the beginning of the week, according to a source, with him expected to be available Monday night against the San Antonio Spurs, pending a physical.

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