After spending most of the past year seemingly headed for a divorce, the Indiana Pacers and center Myles Turner are reportedly open to staying together.
Per Shams Charania for The Athletic, the Pacers and Turner have "opened up contract extension discussions and are exploring a potential new deal" before he becomes a free agent in the offseason.
Charania noted Indiana will continue to have an open mind about the trade market and won't rule anything out.
Turner was heavily linked to the Los Angeles Lakers in trade rumors over the summer. Charania reported in September the Lakers turned down Indiana's request for two unprotected first-round draft picks in exchange for Turner and Buddy Hield.
When the season began, it seemed like a matter of when, not if, Turner would be moved. The Pacers weren't expected to be very good, and trading a 26-year-old center with strong defensive acumen and some scoring aptitude would net them a solid return.
Through the first two months of the season, though, the Pacers appear to have found a nucleus they can build around. Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin are arguably the second-best young backcourt duo in the NBA behind Ja Morant and a healthy Desmond Bane for the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Pacers traded Domantas Sabonis to the Sacramento Kings in February, and Turner has taken steps forward now that he doesn't have to share the floor with another big man.
Indiana has just $71.3 million in salary commitments for the 2023-24 season, and Turner is the only key contributor set to become a free agent next summer. Goga Bitadze is eligible for restricted free agency.
Turner is on pace to set career highs in scoring (16.7 points per game), rebounds (7.8), field-goal percentage (54.1) and three-point percentage (41.7). He's also averaging more than two blocks per game for the fifth consecutive season.
For as long as Herb Simon has been the Pacers' governor, the franchise has tried to stay competitive every season. The results haven't always measured up, but it's rare the Pacers will bottom out. Their 25-57 finish last season was just the third time they have lost at least 50 games since 1986-87.
The Pacers enter Friday eighth in the Eastern Conference with a 16-16 record.