Trade rumors have a way of riling up Myles Turner.
Since being the subject of purported player movement over the last few years, Turner has managed to ramp up his offensive and defensive production, even leading the NBA in blocks in 2019 and 2021.
Turner, however, has become the poster child for quality over quantity as three US presidents have held office since the Texas native last played more than 80 games. For all the talent, being able to play only half a season’s worth of games over the last two years makes it difficult knowing that more often than not, you’re down a man.
All these taken together have invited conversations about the Indiana Pacers moving their 11th overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft rather than letting him walk away at season’s end. It wouldn’t be an uncommon sight for that year’s draft class as only Turner, Karl Anthony-Towns (first overall), and Devin Booker (13th overall), and Kevon Looney (30th overall) are the only players from the 2015 draft class to still be with the teams that originally drafted them. There’s reportedly been a lot of back and forth with other teams and even Turner himself, but in light of recent events, the only resolution in sight seems to be status quo.
Turner was again a force in the Pacers’ 116-111 win over the Charlotte Hornets, scoring a game-high 29 points and blocking as many shots as the entire Hornets squad (four). With Charlotte’s frontcourt composed of Mason Plumlee, PJ Washington, and Jalen McDaniels, it was more or less a path of least resistance.
It might be a stretch to put him at the top of the list of the best rim protectors, but Turner nonetheless provides value when healthy. Big men who can shoot, defend, and move around like gazelles don’t grow on trees. With his combination of skills and size, he can be a menace for opponents and will be able to stay on the court to heavily influence the outcome in his team’s favor.
There are many destinations that would be an ideal fit for Turner in the event he does move on. The Los Angeles Lakers have frequently been mentioned in the rumor mill but nothing has materialized as of this writing. Other contenders with much more assets than the Lakers could also swoop in and acquire Turner before the trade deadline. While the opportunities other teams provide may be enticing, few may be able to provide the type of perimeter play he can get with the likes of Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield. Haliburton, who leads the league in assists at 10.3 per game, more often than not finds Turner on the roll or via lobs. Meanwhile, Hield is the frontrunner for 3-pointers made on the season, providing the spacing for Turner to wreak havoc inside.
The glaring issue that remains with Turner, however, has been his health. That in itself has also given prospective teams some cause for pause and Indiana’s asking price for their franchise center may be too steep for teams who see promise balanced with a medical history. As such, prospective teams are taking a wait-and-see approach before pulling the trigger. Halfway through the regular season, though, Turner is on pace for his best year in terms of games played since the 2019-2020 season, which was when he played in 62 games. Lower leg injuries have kept him on the shelf and given his colorful injury history, rest days will come for the 26-year old.
Uncertainty has seemed to light a fire under Myles Turner, who is currently playing at a high level and has helped lead the Indiana Pacers to a 23-18 record that has them in playoff position halfway through the season. Where Turner will be at season’s end is anyone’s guess, but it goes without saying that his abilities have been front and center.