Pacers sign Edmond Sumner to their first two-way contract

The Pacers have signed their first player to a two-way deal: Edmond Sumner.

He signed a two-year, two-way deal on Wednesday, a league source told VigilantSports.com.

The 6-foot-6 guard out of Xavier University was drafted by the Pacers at 52 after the team acquired the draft pick from New Orleans for cash considerations.

First-round pick T.J. Leaf signed his rookie scale contract on July 1.

Sumner was projected to be drafted in the first round … until he suffered a torn left ACL in January. He had surgery to repair it in March. Then, he had left shoulder surgery on May 16. He was back on the court shooting for the first time last week.

“Right now we don’t have a timetable,” Sumner said last week at rookie/free agent camp. “We’re just taking it day by day, just seeing how I’m progressing.”

Negotiated in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which went into effect on July 1, teams can sign two players to two-way contracts. Best used on players who are still in the development stage, players can sign one- or two-year deals with no options and they don’t count against the team’s salary cap. The hope is that it gives additional players an opportunity while also improving quality of play in the G-League.

“All I needed was an opportunity,” he added.

Players on two-way contracts are paid considerably more than those on G-League deals but less than those on the 15-man roster, and they play primarily in the G-League. Sumner will be able to spend up to 45 days with the Pacers, not including training camp and the time before the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, their G-League team, get rolling on the 2017-18 season.

This also enables the Pacers to own his rights, meaning another team could not call him up from the Mad Ants, unlike those on Exhibit 10 contracts — which impacted the Mad Ants with Ben Bentil and Jarrod Uthoff last season.

Sumner said last week that while the idea of a two-way contract had not yet been discussed with him, he was good with it.

“Oh yeah, anything,” he said. “Whatever is best for the organization. I’m ready to go through the process.”

In essence, he can be around the Pacers some, but can spend much of the time with the Mad Ants while taking his time to rehab his injuries.

“They don’t want me to rush back. They just want me to get healthy. That’s the main priority right now.”

Mad Ants coach Steve Gansey, plus assistant athletic trainer Collin Brown and strength and conditioning coach Jason Manikowski were in rookie/free agent camp and taking lead roles with the summer league team in Orlando. Mad Ants GM Brian Levy is also down in Orlando to evaluate players.

Because of the injuries, Sumner did not fly around the country for pre-draft visits with teams. He did meet with Pacers officials at his agencies’ (ASM Sports) pro day.

Earlier this week, the Pacers reached agreement to bring veteran point guard Darren Collison back to the team on a two-year deal. Lance Stephenson can handle the ball, and Joe Young’s contract became guaranteed on July 1. Sumner, who averaged 15 points, 5.0 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per game during his junior season, can be a taller ball-handler with great length.

“With my length and athleticism and speed, I’m great at creating for myself and others,” he said. “That’s my go-to, getting in the paint. So that’s definitely something I can bring [to the Pacers].”

Sumner plans to wear No. 4.

“Growing up, I always wore 1. But then once I got to high school, we couldn’t wear 1 at my high school. They felt like that number brought too much power so I always had 4. I career that on to Xavier, and I’m just going to stay with it.”

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