Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner has had a somewhat disappointing individual season despite the Pacers’ overall success, and the front office has reportedly placed the 6-foot-11 big man on the trading block.
The biggest reason behind Indiana’s decision to make Turner available has to be the emergence of 23-year-old big man Domantas Sabonis. The fourth-year man out of Gonzaga has been on an absolute tear this season, averaging 18.2 points (on 53.8 percent shooting), 12.7 rebounds, and 4.5 assists in 34.4 minutes per contest. There’s no doubt that Sabonis fully deserves his first-ever selection to the All-Star squad this season.
Sabonis signed a four-year, $77 million extension with the Pacers this past summer, just one year after Turner got a four-year, $72 million extension. Turner was a Defensive Player of the Year candidate last season, but he has been overshadowed by his frontcourt mate this season and could be on his way out.
It makes sense for the Pacers to try and test the waters for what they can get in return for Turner. However, the more prudent decision would be to keep him on board unless there’s an offer they can’t refuse.
For starters, Turner hasn’t actually been all that bad this term. While his production rate has taken a dip compared to last season (something that can be attributed to the meteoric rise of Sabonis), the former Texas standout is still a very valuable piece. Averaging 12.1 points (on 45.1 percent shooting), 6.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.7 steals, and 1.9 blocks, Turner remains a big part of Indiana’s success.
Turner is one of the best rim protectors in the game today, and his contributions on the defensive end must not be overlooked. His presence on the floor allows Sabonis to conserve his energy for offense. Turner is also a legitimate threat from outside — currently draining a career-best 1.5 triples per ballgame on a 34.9 percent clip — which allows him to spread the floor for the rest of his teammates.
Let’s also not forget that Myles Turner is just 23 years of age and still has a ton of basketball ahead of him. He is also on that reasonable contract ($18 million per year), which extends up to the 2022-23 season. It just makes little sense for Indiana to rush anything in terms of potentially offloading Turner.
Finally, the Pacers are currently 31-18 and well within the playoff picture in the East. The team has gotten to this point without the services of their best player in Victor Oladipo, who has just recently made his season debut for the squad. As they say, why fix anything when it ain’t broke?