Pacers, Al Jefferson agree on three-year, $30 million deal

Jefferson will come to Indy on a three-year, $30 million deal.

Jefferson will come to Indy on a three-year, $30 million deal.

The Pacers addressed their biggest need in free agency on Day 1 — the front court — reaching an agreement with veteran center Al Jefferson on deal that will pay him $30 million over three years, a league source confirmed to VigilantSports.com

The deal was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

It is a value addition for the Pacers on a day where we saw Timofey Mozgov ($16 million), Joakim Noah ($17.5 million), and Chandler Parsons ($23.5 million) all land mega deals. That’s because teams are operating on the expectation that the salary cap will be approximately $94 million for the 2016-17 season.

Going into free agency, Pacers coach Nate McMillan pointed out the obvious — how they have just two front-court players for sure in the mix, Myles Turner and Lavoy Allen.

By coming to terms with another center, Ian Mahinmi, who was hopeful to remain with the Pacers, is expected to now go elsewhere. With the going rate, he can command more than the Pacers have available to spend.

Over his 12-year career, Jefferson has averaged 16.7 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. He’s played three years each for four different teams. However, only twice has he played a full 82-game schedule.

Last season alone he missed 35 games, almost 43 percent of the season. Arthroscopic surgery to address a tear in the lateral meniscus of his right knee caused him to miss six weeks. He previously dealt with a left groin strain and right knee strain.

The Pacers, though, have an elite training staff that places an emphasis on injury prevention and not just reacting to what may have happened.

Point guard Jeff Teague, who the Pacers traded for last week (though it is not yet official), will also be coming to the team with an injury to manage.

This time last season, Jefferson dropped more than 20 pounds by cutting friend chicken out of his diet.

Jefferson is an old-school guy with an old-school game. Listed at 6-foot-10, 289-pounds, he will get in position on the block and convert. He made almost 60 percent of his field goals from less than five feet out. He also has a mid-range game, shooting 51.4 percent from 16 to 24 feet, per NBA.com stats. (He has eight career 3-pointers.)

Jefferson, named to the All-NBA Third Team following the 2013-14 season, is also an upgrade at the foul line, connecting on more than 70 percent of his free throws.

All free-agent deals cannot be completed until after the NBA moratorium is lifted on July 7.

With Myles Turner expected to start at center, Jefferson could keep his minutes down and add much-needed scoring off the bench.

The reasonably priced 31-year-old should also fit in nicely in the midwest and with guys like Paul George and Monta Ellis on the team. He loves nothing more than fishing and riding four-wheelers out in the woods.

From 2010-12, Jefferson was part of the USA Basketball National Team program. He was born in Monticello, MS, but grew up in Prentiss, MS, where he hosts his annual basketball camp.

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