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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Indiana Pacers, former Gonzaga standout Domantas Sabonis agree to 4-year, $77 million extension

UPDATED: Mon., Oct. 21, 2019

Indiana forward Domantas Sabonis shoots over Chicago’s Luke Kornet (2) and Daniel Gafford (12) during an Oct. 11 preseason game. (MICHAEL CONROY / Associated Press)
Indiana forward Domantas Sabonis shoots over Chicago’s Luke Kornet (2) and Daniel Gafford (12) during an Oct. 11 preseason game. (MICHAEL CONROY / Associated Press)

Domantas Sabonis is staying with the Indiana Pacers, and the former Gonzaga Bulldog will receive a huge pay raise beginning next season.

Sabonis agreed to a four-year extension worth $77 million guaranteed, ESPN reported. He could earn up to $85 million if he reaches bonuses and incentives. The 6-foot-11 forward will make $3.5 million this year under terms of his rookie contract.

Sabonis, 23, was rumored to be on the trading block late last week but he repeatedly indicated that he wanted to remain with the Pacers. The agreement was reached about two hours before Monday’s deadline for 2016 draft class rookie extensions.

“I’m very excited to remain with the Pacers, this is where I wanted to be,” Sabonis said in a Pacers release. “I appreciate the organization showing their confidence in me, and I’m ready to be part of what’s going to be a great year for our team.”

Sabonis, the 11th overall pick in 2016, started 66 games as a rookie with Oklahoma City but was stationed on the perimeter and averaged just 5.9 points and 3.6 rebounds. He found a better fit after being traded to Indiana, averaging career highs last season in points (14.1), rebounds (9.3), field-goal percentage (59), 3-point percentage (52.9) and assists (2.9).

Sabonis was one of 15 players to average at least 14 points and nine boards, but he’s the only one among them who routinely came off the bench. He started just five games, but he’s expected to move into the starting lineup this season.

Sabonis is part of Gonzaga’s growing contingent of NBA players, including Zach Collins (Portland), Kelly Olynyk (Miami), Nigel Williams-Goss (Utah) and 2019 first-round draft picks Rui Hachimura (Washington) and Brandon Clarke (Memphis).

Zach Norvell Jr. is on a two-way contract, which means the 6-5 guard is expected to see the majority of his playing time in the G League, but he’s eligible to spend 45 days with the Los Angeles Lakers. Former Zag Johnathan Williams, who is playing in Israel this season, played in 24 games for the Lakers and 36 for G League team South Bay last year.

Norvell scored 29 points in Friday’s preseason finale, a loss to Golden State. The Chicago native has twice made crossover moves that dropped Warriors guard Jordan Poole to the court in separate games.

The Lakers open Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers on TNT.

Olynyk, who is entering his seventh season, played in just two preseason games after suffering a bone bruise in his knee while playing for Canada in an August exhibition game prior to the FIBA World Cup. It’ll be a clash of former Zags on Wednesday when Olynyk and Miami entertain the Grizzlies and Clarke.

Williams-Goss, who played two years overseas after leading Gonzaga to the 2017 national championship game, signed a three-year contract with Utah this summer. He’s listed on the Jazz’s 17-player roster for the season opener Wednesday against Oklahoma City.

Other NBA openers on Wednesday involving former Zags include Detroit vs. Indiana, Washington vs. Dallas and Portland vs. Denver (ESPN).

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