Report: Myles Turner, Pacers Agree to 2-Year, $58M Contract After Lakers Trade Rumors

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 28, 2023

Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner drives during an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)
AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King

The Indiana Pacers agreed to a two-year, $58 million extension with Myles Turner on Saturday, according to The Athletic and Stadium's Shams Charania.

The deal will keep Turner in Indiana through the 2024-25 campaign.

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Myles Turner and Pacers reach agreement to keep Turner under contract through 2024-25 season, salaries as followed, per sources:<br><br>- $35 million this season ($18M salary plus $17M of Pacers' salary space)<br>- $20.9M in 2023-24<br>- $19.9M in 2024-25<br><br>Total: 2 additional years, $58M.

Turner is having the best all-around season of his career so far. Through 42 games, he's averaging 17.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks while shooting 54.4 percent overall and 39.1 percent from beyond the arc.

While the Pacers currently don't have a winning record, they're still exceeding expectations this season. At 24-27, they're ninth in the Eastern Conference.

Turner's days in Indiana appeared to be numbered as the franchise shifted its focus last year by shipping out Domantas Sabonis and Caris LeVert ahead of the 2022 NBA trade deadline.

The Pacers proceeded to finish with the third-worst winning percentage (.305) in franchise history, and they sent Malcolm Brogdon to the Boston Celtics in the offseason.

Trading Turner seemed to be one of the next logical steps for the front office. He was heavily linked to the Los Angeles Lakers in trade rumors alongside Buddy Hield leading up to the NBA's Feb. 9 trade deadline.

Whether the Pacers intend to contend earlier than expected or view the 26-year-old as a veteran leader for a younger roster, the Pacers seemingly saw a role for him going forward.

The new deal is also interesting given Turner's comments to The Athletic's Jared Weiss last December. He expressed a gulf between where he saw his fit within the rotation and how he was being utilized:

"It's clear that I'm not valued as anything more than a glorified role player here, and I want something more, more opportunity. I'm trying really hard to make the role that I'm given here work and find a way to maximize it. I've been trying to the past two, three seasons. But it's clear to me that, just numbers-wise, I'm not valued as more than a rotational role player, and I hold myself in a higher regard than that."

Turner's 21.0 percent usage rage in 2022-23 isn't significantly higher than his career average (19.2 percent), per Basketball Reference, but the gulf is noticeable when looking at the past few years. His usage rate from 2019-20 through 2021-22 was 17.2 percent.

He might be enjoying life alongside Tyrese Haliburton, a natural playmaker who's leading the NBA in assists (10.2 per game). In Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin, the Pacers have a guard tandem who can chart the course forward.

Because he's still in his mid-20s, Turner should remain an impactful contributor when Indiana is in a better position to contend in a year or two. His extension also widens the window for the front office to flip him in a trade that addresses another area of the roster.