Donald Sloan will be with the Indiana Pacers for a second season. Pacers President Larry Bird said Tuesday at a press conference that the team is bringing him back for the 2014-15 season. They had until Friday, Aug. 15 to decide if they would guarantee his contract next year, worth $948,163.
“Yeah, we’re picking it up,” Bird answered.
Sloan got word of the news on Twitter, and he’s a very happy man.
In my umpires voice “SAFE!!!”
— Donald Sloan (@dsloan15) August 12, 2014
Sloan, 26, is set to play his fourth season in the NBA. He went undrafted in 2010 out of Texas A&M, and after a year and a half or so overseas, he has stuck. The third-string point guard is well-liked in the locker room and has a team-first mentality.
Talking with Sloan at length during Summer League play last month, he wasn’t too worried. Unlike the previous summer on the Summer League team, he didn’t feel pressured to impress; They know his game.
“At this point, there’s no pressure for me,” Sloan said in early July. “At the end of the day, I’m going to be here or not. I’m just going to go out there and focus on the things I need to focus on. If it gets the job done, I’ll be here. If not, I’ll be elsewhere.”
Sloan has been active this season, working out both in Dallas and Indianapolis. He played one week at the Knox Indy Pro Am. While in Indy, he’s gone through workouts with fellow point guard George Hill. The two of them were just leaving Benihana’s on Aug. 1 when they found out about Paul George’s injury.
“I’ve been in the gym, and I’ve been working hard,” said Sloan. “Outside of making a jumper consistently, I don’t think there’s anything else that I can do to prove my worth.”
Beyond conditioning and ball handling, Sloan has spent time on his agility, footwork, and getting his core right. His primary focus, however, has been on shooting a lot of jumpers — particularly in game-like situations.
“Make sure I have that body in front of me when I’m shooting that jumper, ” he said. “I felt like I was able to attack the rim. I felt like I was able to create. So I’ve really focused on having a close-out guy running at me when I’m shooting, and spot shots.”
The Pacers now have 13 players with fully guaranteed deals for this upcoming season. The exceptions: Luis Scola (partially guaranteed until Jan. 10) and rookie Shayne Whittington.
Sloan averaged 2.4 points and 1.0 assist per game last season in limited action. He made 52 appearances, including four postseason games.
See a glimpse into one of Sloan’s off-the-court workouts below: