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Another former Cat gets cut by NBA team, but still has chance to impress

Alex Poythress averaged just over four minutes in only 25 games last season for the Pacers and was waived by the team ahead of his contract becoming guaranteed. The Atlanta Hawks have signed him to a two-way contract.
Alex Poythress averaged just over four minutes in only 25 games last season for the Pacers and was waived by the team ahead of his contract becoming guaranteed. The Atlanta Hawks have signed him to a two-way contract. AP Photo

Former Kentucky star Alex Poythress, mentioned this week as a key player on the Indiana Pacers' summer league team, apparently won't figure in the team's regular season after being released Friday.

Now, the Clarksville, Tenn., native will be looking to use his summer league games in Las Vegas to impress other NBA teams. He's been heralded for being able to guard multiple positions and has become a three-point threat since he left UK, making 36 percent of his attempts for Indiana. Friday, Poythress had 13 points and four rebounds, starting in a 92-89 loss to the Houston Rockets' summer squad. He got a highlight post on Pacers Twitter from a first-half dunk.

Poythress signed a two-year contract last December after being promoted from the G League in the early season. But the 6-foot-9, 235-pound forward could not make a dent in the everyday roster, averaging only 4.1 minutes in 25 games. Eleven of those games came during his two-way G League contract when he split time with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

Like many NBA deals, much of the contract was not guaranteed unless the team picked up the option year. Poythress's option guarantee was set to kick in later this month. While terms of his deal were not disclosed, according to Spotrac.com, Poythress earned just over $778,000 last season. He was due to earn more than $1.5 million this year. Indiana also renounced Trevor Booker and Joe Young to make way for signing veteran center Kyle O'Quinn.

Last week, former UK point guard Tyler Ulis, was cut by the Phoenix Suns in a similar roster move to avoid paying an upcoming guarantee.

Poythress impressed at times with Indiana and was a G League All-Star with Fort Wayne in his rookie year. That earned him a spot with the Philadelphia 76ers to close out the 2016-17 season where he averaged 10.7 points and 4.8 rebounds in six games.

On Thursday, Poythress was among several former UK players taken out to dinner by Coach John Calipari in Las Vegas ahead of their stints in the Vegas games.

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