Chase Budinger and the Indiana Pacers have agreed to a buyout, the team announced on Saturday.
Sean Deveney of Sporting News initially reported the news on Thursday.
Buckner reported Budinger’s camp and the Pacers agreed to terms a week ago, but the delay in making it official is due to C.J. Miles’ calf injury:
So to repeat: Budinger & #Pacers agreed to a buyout deal a week ago. But not finalized bc team’s been waiting on Miles to return from injury— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) March 3, 2016
Budinger’s buyout comes as the Pacers are set to sign point guard Ty Lawson, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical. Indiana will waive Budinger on Saturday, per Charania, to clear a roster spot for Lawson, who was bought out by the Houston Rockets on Tuesday.
Because Lawson was waived before the March 1 playoff-eligibility deadline, he would be able to play in the postseason for Indiana, which is currently No. 7 in the Eastern Conference.
However, Budinger will not be eligible now that the deadline has passed.
Deveney speculated the seventh-year veteran will sign with a Western Conference team. Buckner identified the Phoenix Suns as a possible suitor, and Utah Jazz radio broadcaster David Locke said the Jazz could be in the mix.
The Suns and Jazz are both options with the need for a swingman, though Phoenix seems a more viable option as a team 14.5 games out of the West's final playoff spot. Utah is currently in ninth, just 1.5 games back.
The Pacers were active in shopping Budinger before the Feb. 18 trade deadline, per Buckner.
Budinger was expected to play a big part in the Pacers’ revamped offense geared to a more uptempo pace after trading Roy Hibbert and losing David West to free agency. However, he is averaging only 4.5 points, 1.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 15.0 minutes per game over 48 contests.
However, Budinger became mired in a rotational role off the bench and was the third wheel to Glenn Robinson III and Solomon Hill when Indiana began regularly using two bigs.
He won't play this postseason, but if Budinger can contribute consistently with a new team and remain healthy, he may land a new contract this offseason.