Al Jefferson Reportedly Released by Pacers, Carries a Salary-Cap Hit of $4M

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 2, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 15: Al Jefferson #25 of the Indiana Pacers is seen during the game against the Toronto Raptors at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 15, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
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The Indiana Pacers released veteran center Al Jefferson, RealGM's Keith Smith reported Monday.

Although Jefferson was set to earn $10 million in 2018-19, per Spotrac, only $4 million was guaranteed. According to Smith, the Pacers could potentially use the stretch provision to spread that $4 million salary-cap hit over multiple seasons.

Jefferson fell to third in the depth chart at center behind Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, so releasing him makes sense for the Pacers, even though they have to assume $4 million in dead money.

ESPN's Bobby Marks noted how Indiana was a bit of a wild card in terms of how much money it could spend this offseason:

Bobby Marks @BobbyMarks42

The cap situation in Indiana is fluid based on the $13.9M Thaddeus Young player option and the partially guaranteed $10M Al Jefferson contract. The Pacers currently project to have anywhere from $10M to $30M in room.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Pacers agreed to a three-year, $22 million deal with Doug McDermott, which eats into their available funds. Shedding Jefferson's contract gives general manager Chad Buchanan and team president Kevin Pritchard a little more flexibility.

Although Jefferson loses out on $6 million, he can potentially gain that back either this offseason or with his performance in 2018-19 before becoming a free agent again next summer.

Jefferson averaged a career-low 13.4 minutes in 36 appearances for the Pacers in 2017-18, and his role wouldn't have grown next year without an injury to Turner or Sabonis. Now, he has the opportunity to take a short-term deal with a team for whom he can feature more regularly.