Denver Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and forward Bruce Brown celebrate during a rally and parade to mark the team's first NBA basketball championship on June 15, 2023, in Denver. Brown has agreed to a two-year, $45 million contract with the Indiana Pacers according to an Associated Press source. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

INDIANAPOLIS | Bruce Brown Jr. is leaving the NBA champion Denver Nuggets for a two-year, $45 million deal with the Indiana Pacers, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Friday.

The person requested anonymity because the deal has not yet been announced publicly and said the deal includes a team option for the second year.

Brown started 31 games and was a key contributor in the playoffs for the Nuggets last season. He averaged 11.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists during the regular season.

Denver wanted to keep Brown, but was prevented by salary cap rules from offering a deal anywhere near the one the Pacers offered.

Indiana was trying to get younger and better defensively on the perimeter before last week’s NBA draft. But trading partners wanted Indiana’s No. 7 overall pick — something the Pacers were unwilling to do.

Instead, they made a rare early splash in free agency by adding the 26-year-old Brown to a young, emerging roster led by All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton and two-time NBA blocks champion Myles Turner.

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