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Pacers president Kevin Pritchard on re-signing Pascal Siakam

Pascal Siakam poses for a picture with Pacers head coach and Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard at his press conference. (WISH Photo/Angela Moryan).

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Heading into the season, Pacers president Kevin Pritchard’s goal was just to make the playoffs. Then, the In-Season Tournament changed that.

After the Pacers lost in the championship game, Pritchard decided they weren’t that far away from having a legitimate contender. So, they got aggressive at the trade deadline.

There was only one person for them. That was Pascal Siakam.

The Pacers were able to get the trade done. Then, they made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals and had major contributions from Siakam. He was their leading scorer in the playoffs.

Siakam was only under contract for the remainder of the season. But, the Pacers were able to re-sign him with a four-year max contract for just under $189 million.

Pritchard thought that Siakam would be a really good addition for the Pacers, but he was better than Pritchard anticipated.

“Quite frankly, I think he’s unguardable one-on-one,” Pritchard said.

While Siakam is a two-time All-Star, Pritchard is more impressed with his character.

“Couldn’t have asked for a better person,” Pritchard said. “He is a great player. He is a better person.”

Pritchard said that this summer, Siakam is going to take some of their young players under his wing. That seemed clear already on Monday. He dapped up Pacers’ second-round draft pick Enrique Freeman as he walked into the press conference.

After the press conference was over, even though he still had more media obligations, Siakam took time to chat with Jarace Walker, the Pacers first-round pick in the 2023 draft.

Pritchard described last season as the most fun that he’s ever had with a team in the 33 years he’s spent as a player, coach, or executive.

Siakam averaged 21.3 points per game in 41 games played with the Pacers last season. He had his most efficient season from the floor since 2019, when he won the Most Improved Player award.