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Myles Turner Trade Rumors: Pacers Inclined to Keep Center Ahead of Contract Talks

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVApril 9, 2022

Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner (33) during NBA action against New York Knicks, Tuesday Jan. 4, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

The Indiana Pacers are reportedly planning to keep center Myles Turner rather than trading him.

According to NBA insider Marc Stein, Turner was the subject of trade rumors for much of the 2021-22 season, but All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis was traded to the Sacramento Kings instead. As a result, league sources now believe the Pacers want to hang on to Turner.

If the Pacers have long-term plans for Turner, a contract extension is needed, as he can become a free agent after the 2022-23 season.

While Turner has been out since January with a foot injury and won't play in Indiana's final two games of the season, he was highly productive again this season when healthy.

In 42 games, Turner averaged 12.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 1.5 three-pointers made per contest. He also shot 50.9 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc.

His scoring and rebounding averages were his best since the 2018-19 season, plus his field-goal percentage was the second-best mark of his career.

Turner has become a far more complete player over the years, expanding his shooting range and developing into a competent three-point shooter, but defense remains his bread and butter.

The 6'11" big man is a two-time NBA blocks champion, including the career-high 3.4 blocks per game he achieved in 2020-21.

Turner would likely be leading the blocks race by a significant margin again this season, but since he hasn't played enough games, Robert Williams of the Boston Celtics and Jaren Jackson Jr. of the Memphis Grizzlies are tied for the league lead with 2.2 blocks per game.

Many teams would love the opportunity to trade for the 26-year-old Turner, and it seemed like a possibility for much of the season due to the Pacers' struggles.

Indiana is a disappointing 25-55, placing it 13th in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers won't be in the playoffs for the second consecutive season after reaching the postseason five years in a row and nine times in 10 years before last season.

T.J. Warren and Ricky Rubio are among the key Pacers set to become free agents this offseason, plus Stein noted that they are expected to shop point guard Malcolm Brogdon.

That means the Pacers are seemingly looking to move ahead with a core of Turner and Tyrese Haliburton, but they will have to put a much better supporting cast around them in order to return to playoff contention.