What Should the Indiana Pacers do with Myles Turner?

Indiana Pacers Center Myles Turner
Photo Credit: Justin Gasterline/Getty Images

The Indiana Pacers find themselves smack-dab in the middle of a rebuild, one that puts them in a precarious situation with their center, Myles Turner. In the 2020-21 season, they still hoped to contend, and were able to make the play-in tournament, where they were eliminated by the Washington Wizards. Under a new regime led by Rick Carlisle, Indiana stumbled to a 25-win season last year.

At the trade deadline last winter, Indiana seemingly committed to a rebuild. They traded their best player, Domantas Sabonis, to Sacramento in exchange for an exciting young point guard in Tyrese Haliburton. That move signified their status as a rebuilding team. Interestingly enough, this offseason they offered a max-contract to DeAndre Ayton, a four-year, $133 million deal to be specific.

That was an unexpected move, for two reasons. The first is the fact that it’s rare for a team in a rebuilding position to offer any player a max-contract on the free agent market, unless they’re trying to retain one of their own players. Perhaps this signifies that the Pacers view themselves as a team that can still contend, and they may want more of a re-tool, rather than a complete rebuild.

The second reason involved their current center, Myles Turner. By offering that max-deal to Ayton, Indiana clearly signaled that they would view him as their center of the future during this rebuild. That alone puts a lot of friction on their relationship with Turner.

Myles Turner has spent each of his first seven career seasons in Indiana. In that time, he’s been a good center, but it would be a reach to give him more credit than that. Turner is a great defensive center, and he averaged an NBA league-high 3.4 blocks per game in 2o21. Turner is great at rebounding as well, but he doesn’t offer a ton on offense.

Why the Indiana Pacers Should Trade Myles Turner

Turner has been a quality center for Indiana for several years now, but this rebuild could signify the need for both sides to part ways. With the recent news regarding Ayton, it seems clear that Indiana doesn’t value Myles as their center of the future.

Turner could get some tangible assets on the trade market as well, to help Indiana’s rebuild along. Granted, he’s not a star player, but there still will always be a place for a center that can protect the rim and rebound. Players like that make a huge difference. Having a presence like Turner around the rim could completely change an opposing offense’s game plan. Because of that alone, the trade market for Turner will be good enough to make departing with him worthwhile. Teams like the Raptors, Hornets, or Mavericks could make sense in a trade.

Why the Pacers Should Keep Turner

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Indiana may be better off keeping Turner after all. Myles has found his name in the rumor mill virtually every season recently, and there’s a good chance the Pacers already know what his value is on the trade market. That could even be part of the reason he’s still on the roster, if Indiana didn’t like their options.

Turner does have value, and since Indiana missed out on Ayton, he could very well be the next best option. Turner is a very similar player to Ayton, and the only thing Ayton is far better at is his ability to score. Going for a player like Ayton shows that Indiana wants their center of the future to be able to rebound and play defense. Those are two things Turner is very good at. It also would make sense to keep Turner with Haliburton. Tyrese will surely get him some more opportunities to score as well.

Overall, the Pacers are in a nice spot here. They should be in no rush to make a move. Whatever decision they do decide to make though, should work out. By trading Myles Turner, the Pacers will lose him, but will also be able to get some assets back in return. Or, they could decide to keep Turner as their rebuild continues. After all, he does offer a lot to the team right now. Turner is still just 25 years old, and it would make sense to keep him for the long run.

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