Jalen Smith loved his post-trade deadline experience with the Indiana Pacers so much that he's back for more.
Smith, a 6-foot-10, 215-pound power forward/center, re-signed with Indiana on Wednesday after briefly testing the free agent market. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
The Pacers acquired the 22-year-old University of Maryland product from the Phoenix Suns for veteran forward Torrey Craig in February. He thrived in 22 games after the trade, averaging 13.4 points and 7.6 rebounds and collecting six double-doubles. Smith's strong play, however, presented a dilemma for both the 2020 lottery pick and the Pacers; because the Suns declined his rookie option last November, the team that held his rights heading into free agency was limited to offering him the value of the rookie options Phoenix had turned down.
That put the Pacers at a disadvantage, but Smith ultimately decided to stay in Indiana and continue building on the progress he made late in the 2021-22 season.
"I chose my future over instant gratification," Smith said during Wednesday's press conference.
While Smith primarily came off the bench with Indiana last season, head coach Rick Carlisle said he'll be the starting power forward to begin the 2022-23 campaign. He'll be part of a deep group of Pacers bigs that is also set to include Goga Bitadze, Oshae Brissett, Isaiah Jackson, Terry Taylor and Myles Turner.