Nate Hinton rejoins Rick Carlisle, signs Exhibit 10 contract with the Pacers

He's a 6-5 guard coming off his rookie season in Dallas, where he played for Carlisle.

Nate Hinton is already in Indy, reunited with a former coach and college teammate, and excited to make the most of this opportunity. His rookie season was highly unusual due to the pandemic and now he begins a new chapter.

He signed with the Pacers on Tuesday, the team announced. It’s an Exhibit 10 deal, according to a league source, an opportunity for the 6-foot-5 guard to prove himself in training camp and be considered for an NBA deal.

If he doesn’t make the 15-man roster and is waived, the Pacers’ G League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, will have his player rights. And, as I reported a month ago, the Mad Ants plan to practice in Indy this season and play nine games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse — a significant development for the franchises and those involved.

The 22-year-old is from Gastonia, North Carolina and went undrafted in 2020 after two seasons at the University of Houston, where he played alongside recent Pacers signee DeJon Jarreau.

Before the 2020-21 season, Hinton signed a two-way contract with Dallas, where Rick Carlisle coached the past 13 seasons. He then re-signed with the Mavericks on Aug. 3, but was waived on Aug. 27 to make room for JaQuori McLaughlin to sign a two-way.

Carlisle likes Hinton’s game and wanted to bring him to training camp. (Assistant coaches Mike Weinar and Jenny Boucek were also in Dallas.)

Like other Pacers offseason signees before him, he adds toughness, defense and positivity.

“He’s a dog, a fighter, a special young man,” his agent, Tallen Todorovich, told Fieldhouse Files. “He’s going to do everything he possibly can to fight for his teammates and the coaching staff.”

Hinton, a gym rat full of energy, saw little NBA time during his rookie campaign, appearing in 21 games and averaging 4.4 minutes per game. The bulk of his play came in the G League with the Santa Cruz Warriors. He then averaged 7.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game with the Mavericks at Las Vegas Summer League.

With this latest signing, the Pacers have contracts with 20 players for camp, the maximum allowed. That includes two two-way deals (Duane Washington Jr. and Jarreau), plus three Exhibit 10s (Keifer Sykes, Terry Taylor and now Hinton). The Pacers have non-guaranteed deals with forwards Oshae Brissett and Kelan Martin, whose salary guarantee date was recently pushed back for the second time.

Training camp opens on Sept. 28.