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Myles Turner makes it clear he wants to stay in Indiana

The future of the Indiana Pacers rests on the shoulders of Victor Oladipo more than any other player on the roster, even after the two-time All-Star suffered a season-ending right knee injury last week. Easily overlooked during the Pacers’ rise toward Eastern Conference contention, though, has been the play of Myles Turner, whose made the type of nuanced yet impactful improvements this season that portends future stardom.

Good thing for Indiana, then, that the fourth-year big man apparently has no plans to play elsewhere going forward.

In the aftermath of Kristaps Porzingis’ shocking trade from the New York Knicks to the Dallas Mavericks, Myles Turner, a native of Medford, TX, was asked if he would be the next multi-faceted big man to play for his hometown team.

Unlike Porzingis, Turner is locked into a long-term deal with the team that drafted him. He signed a four-year, $72 million contract extension with Indiana in mid-October, making him a fixture of the franchise’s plans for both the present and future. Nothing Turner nor the Pacers have done in the interim suggests theirs is a marriage that will end in separation, either.

Indiana sports the league’s fourth-ranked defense, allowing just 104.9 points per 100 possessions, and Turner’s development into a premier rim-protector is the biggest reason why. Only Joel Embiid and Rudy Gobert, the top two vote-getters in last year’s Defensive Player of the Year race, contest more shots at the rim per game than Turner’s 7.0. Opponents shoot just 55.2 percent against him in that scenario, too, a near-elite mark that’s slightly better than Gobert’s and a hair below Embiid’s.

Turner, at the very least, profiles as the backbone of a top-tier NBA defense for years to come. Once he starts trading more long twos for threes and gets more comfortable with his back to the basket, All-Star appearances seem inevitable – just like Turner staying with the Pacers for the long haul.