Stein: Myles Turner 'Might Seek' to Play out Final Year of Pacers Contract amid Talks

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJune 13, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 31: Myles Turner #33 of the Indiana Pacers in action in the game against the Chicago Bulls at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on December 31, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
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Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner is reportedly considering playing on an expiring contract next season rather than signing an extension.

According to NBA insider Marc Stein, Turner and the Pacers are expected to have contract talks this offseason, but he isn't ruling out the possibility of playing out the remainder of his current contract, which will pay him $18 million next season.

Stein noted that such a scenario would put the Pacers in a tough spot since Turner could leave in free agency next offseason, meaning Indiana would perhaps consider trading him during the 2022-23 campaign.

The Pacers took a big step toward committing to Turner for the long haul last season when they traded All-Star big man Domantas Sabonis to the Sacramento Kings in a deal that netted guards Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield.

By trading Sabonis, the Pacers seemingly made a statement that Turner is their go-to guy inside, but that hasn't yielded a new contract yet.

The 26-year-old Turner suffered a stress reaction in his left foot before the trade and never made it back during the 2021-22 campaign, limiting him to just 42 games.

Turner was productive when healthy once again last season, averaging 12.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.8 blocks, 1.5 three-pointers made and 1.0 assist while shooting 50.9 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc.

Durability has been an issue for him over the years, though, as he has played in less than 50 games in each of the past two seasons and has appeared in 70 or more games just twice in seven NBA seasons.

As a result of the injury, Turner didn't get a chance to play alongside Haliburton last season, so the Pacers couldn't get an idea of how they meshed together.

Signing Turner to a new deal this offseason would mean going in blind, but waiting until during the season would possibly increase the likelihood of losing Turner for nothing or having to trade him.

After making the playoffs in nine out of 10 seasons, the Pacers missed the postseason in 2020-21 with a 34-38 record and fell off even more last season to 25-57, marking their worst record since the 1984-85 season.

Turner's status as a two-time NBA blocks champion and a defensive force at center makes him a valuable asset to the Pacers, but it may be worth exploring a trade for more future assets to accelerate the rebuild if he doesn't want to re-sign.