The Indiana Pacers announced today that they’ve waived Elijah Stewart and Omari Johnson. This trims down the roster to the required 15 players before Wednesday’s season opener.
Ben Moore is (most likely) the 15th player. It’s possible that this means he made the team but recent history suggests that he could still be waived before the regular season opener.
Last season, the Pacers decided that instead of keeping Jarrod Uthoff, who was in a similar position to Moore at this time last year, as the 15th man, they would keep that roster spot open to start the regular season to have flexibility in case they wanted to add someone down the line.
Moore’s biggest hurdle to permanently making the roster is Edmond Sumner, who doesn’t count towards the 15 currently because of his 2-way contract. Sumner, however, would only get 45 days with the Pacers once the G-League season starts if he remains on a 2-way deal. With his play this preseason, it appears likely that Indiana will want him around all year whether as a possible injury replacement or as a part of the rotation.
This could be a repeat of last season as well as Alex Poythress was on a 2-way contract at the beginning of the year but rarely spent time in Fort Wayne, using up all his 45 days quickly before getting his 2-way converted to an NBA contract. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Pacers go with the same strategy with Sumner here.
It’s possible Moore could be kept on the NBA roster until that time. Moore could even end up with a 2-way deal once again if he is waived as the Pacers will have an opening once they decide how to proceed with 2-way player CJ Wilcox after his torn Achilles took him out for the season.
Moore has been in the Pacers system for a full season now after going undrafted out of SMU, playing for the Pacers in Summer League and preseason last year, spending most of his time in Fort Wayne with the Mad Ants and eventually seeing some time with the NBA team during the season after getting signed to a 2-way contract.
He stayed in Indianapolis to train at the team facilities after the season ended and once again played for the Pacers Summer League team. He’s a hard-nosed defender who makes all the effort plays. As he increases his outside shooting prowess, his likelihood of sticking on a roster will increase.
Stewart and Johnson are both likely candidates to play for the Mad Ants.