The Indiana Pacers are in a rather awkward position as a franchise at the moment. Two members of their core play the same position and their lone All-Star is coming off a season-ending injury that will likely neutralize his impact next season when he eventually returns to the lineup.
There is a common belief that the Pacers will eventually have to trade either Domantas Sabonis or Myles Turner. If they prefer to build around Sabonis, there should be no shortage of teams that would find themselves interested in acquiring Turner. He is still only 23-year-old and is a highly impactful defender that fills a stretch-five niché on the offensive end of the floor.
Turner is coming off a productive season for the Pacers. He averaged 13.3 points and 7.2 rebounds while leading the league in shot blocking and shooting 38.8% from beyond the arc. He joined Raef LaFrentz as the only players in NBA history to average at least 2.5 blocks and one made three-pointer in a single-season.
There is plenty of reason to believe that he has untapped offensive potential given that he has received a usage rate below 20% in each season of his career since he was a rookie. To make matters worse, his usage rate went from an already low 19.8% in the regular season to a mere 15.4% in the playoffs.
With the upcoming draft class being considered weak by many, it may be in the best interest of some teams with a lottery pick to trade it for Myles Turner instead of making a selection. It only helps that he will not be a restricted free agent this summer and that his four-year contract extension worth a projected $80 million will incentives does not kick in until the new league year begins.
If Indiana decided at some point that they wanted to fully commit to Sabonis, they could agree to a contract extension with him this summer and trade Turner. They would be able to acquire assets that could play a key role in their re-tooling process while pleasing a large faction of their fan base that long for the days of physical post-up centers that grab a lot of rebounds.
Here are some teams that should consider trading for Myles Turner this summer:
Los Angeles Lakers
If there is an ideal type of player to have alongside LeBron James it’s something that can shoot jump shots and shoulder the load doing the dirty work on the defensive end of the floor. That happens to be the role that Myles Turner has filled quite nicely with the Pacers while still having plenty of untapped potential alongside a passing talent like James in a four-out offense.
It would be quite helpful for Los Angeles to acquire a stretch-five given that they finished better than only the Phoenix Suns in three-point percentage last season. They were also within striking distance of being a top ten defense and adding Turner could comfortably get them there.
With foundational pieces like Trae Young and John Collins, it will be important for the Atlanta Hawks to add a highly impactful defensive anchor. Collins’ offensive niche is that of an interior dirty work specialist and it would be ideal for their long-term center to have a stretch-five skill-set to space the floor.
Atlanta could potentially have two draft selections within the top 10 of this year’s NBA Draft as a result of trading down with the Dallas Mavericks last year. If they end up holding onto both of those draft picks after the lottery is done, they could use one of them as a key component of a trade package for Myles Turner.
It appears that the Dallas Mavericks will be playing the recently acquired Kristaps Porzingis at the power forward spot. It would be incredible to be able to pair a versatile front-court player like Porzingis with another stretch big like Turner. There would be incredible floor spacing for Luka Doncic to make plays while having lots of assistance from help defense.
There are not many ways that the Mavericks could have the necessary assets to pull off a trade for Turner considering how they have traded a lot of their first round picks for the foreseeable future. Their best chance is that they get to keep their first round pick during the upcoming NBA Draft but that is unlikely since they would need to finish in the top five of the draft order.
The Cleveland Cavaliers need to add more impact players to their core to accelerate the rebuilding process. Trading for a young center that is worthy of a spot on one of the All-Defensive Teams would be a great way for a team that finished last in defense rating to begin to sure up their production on that end of the floor.
It doesn’t appear to be logical for the Cavs to trade their first round pick in the upcoming NBA Draft for Turner since they need more wing talent. While that may be the case, it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t investigate other options like a trade package that features a future protected first round pick.
The Washington Wizards have slowly but surely tried to climb out of the deep hole that they have dug themselves into through reckless spending in recent years. They are likely going to be unable to attract talented free agents as a result of their lack of financial flexibility and mediocre recent seasons.
The Wizards could be in prime position to trade their first-round pick for a talented young player to add to their core depending on how the NBA Draft lottery pans out. A player like Turner would be a strong option for them to pursue given that he projects as being a great offensive fit with Bradley Beal and John Wall while being able to anchor their defense.
There may not be a dire need for the Boston Celtics to acquire another big man but it would be wise for their future to do it at some point. The importance of a stretch-five that can anchor a defense and stretch the floor has been shown by Al Horford lately and with him turning 33-years-old in June, it may time to start thinking about the future.
A lot rides on what Kyrie Irving will ultimately decide to do in free agency this summer. If he departs, it would be ideal to build around Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. It is worth noting that Myles Turner perfectly aligns with the timeline of both players. Acquiring him would make Boston one of the only franchises to have a young big man that can shoot from deep and block shots at a high-level.