Myles Turner Rumors: Pacers Expected to Trade Center If New Contract Talks Fail

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 5, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 29: Myles Turner #33 of the Indiana Pacers jogs across the court in the first quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on December 29, 2022 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 Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Indiana Pacers could trade Myles Turner by the Feb. 9 deadline if the two sides are unable to work out an extension.

"Multiple sources indicated this week that if a deal isn't reached, it would finally prompt the Pacers to move on and deal Turner," Matt Moore of Action Network reported.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported last month the Pacers have opened discussions with Turner on a long-term deal. Without a new agreement, the center will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer.

Turner has been the subject of trade rumors throughout this career, and this year has been no different. Charania reported in September the Los Angeles Lakers had discussions with Indiana for the center, while he was also a target for the Los Angeles Clippers, per Bleacher Report's Eric Pincus.

The 26-year-old could be in even higher demand thanks to his increased production in 2022-23.

Turner has always been one of the game's best shot-blockers, twice leading the NBA in the category, and that has continued with his 2.2 blocks per game this year. The difference has been his other numbers with career highs of 16.7 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.

With an expiring contract, a contending team could add the impact player without ruining future payroll flexibility.

On the other hand, Indiana has exceeded expectations this year and entered Thursday tied for sixth in the Eastern Conference with a 21-18 record. Many projected the Pacers to remain in the bottom of the standings after finishing 25-57 last year, but the team has been competitive thanks to Turner's improved play and the exciting young backcourt led by Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin.

A new deal for Turner could allow Indiana to keep the core together as it tries to make an unlikely playoff run.

The risk of losing the center for nothing, though, seems to be motivating the Pacers to keep their options open. If they can't secure Turner to a long-term contract, he might be on the move before the season ends.