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Pacers general manager had this to say about T.J. McConnell

Pacers general manager had this to say about T.J. McConnell

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Coming into the season, T.J. McConnell’s role was in question. Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle told him before the season that he was not going to be a part of the rotation. He didn’t play in four of the first nine games.

Fast forward to the end of the season, and he was one of the most pivotal players on the team and a fan favorite. Chants of “T.J.! T.J.! T.J.!” were common in Gainbridge Fieldhouse during the playoffs.

After Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, McConnell reflected on the season.

“It was a great ride,” he said. “I know I don’t just speak for myself but getting this franchise back into the playoffs and making a run to the Eastern Conference Finals when not a single person had us going there, it was really fun just to play alongside the group.

Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan had a lot of good things to say about McConnell at his end of the season press conference on Tuesday as well.

“From where it started, for what he thought the situation was going to be, maybe not playing, not in the rotation, to being compared to Michael Jordan in the Eastern Conference Finals by Jaylen Brown, that’s quite the contrast from start to finish,” Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan said. “But the love by his teammates, his coaches, the staff, the fans, I mean, he’s what you want an Indiana Pacer to be about. His value to us is obviously very, very high and that is not changed by anything that happened this year and (I) hope that he’s with us for a long time as well.”

McConnell is heading into the last year of his contract with the Pacers, but it is non-guaranteed. He’s set to make up to $9.3 million.

McConnell had two 20-point games in the playoffs to go along with four in the regular season. He set a career high in points per game with 10.2. He also finished seventh in Sixth Man of the Year voting.