He didn’t ask for a trade. By all accounts, he’d be fine playing through a rebuild as long as his role is increased on the Pacers, but the expiration date on Myles Turner in a Pacers uniform may be coming sooner than later. The 25-year old has spent his entire pro career with Indiana, a constant on the roster since 2015. He’s seen the highs and lows, dealt with injuries, seen star players take their talents elsewhere and seen the franchise’s playoff woes up close. His comments made to Jared Weiss of The Athletic showed that he has a passion for the city and his team and just wants to see a role change. He wants to be THE center of the team, not a guy who shares his minutes, but a guy who could be considered a roster centerpiece for years to come. While that’s commendable, it’s also not a reality the Pacers organization currently finds itself.
Despite rattling off a pair of wins, the Pacers are currently 13th out of 15 Eastern Conference teams at 11-16, a woeful 3-10 on the road and are seeing Gainbridge Fieldhouse with more empty seats than fans these days due to a number of issues, whether it be being burned out by running the roster back yet again, a TV deal that prevents most fans from seeing the games or numerous others. The Pacers are not at a point of contending for anything and as we discovered earlier this week, more likely pushing the DETONATE button sooner than later when it comes to the roster.
Pacers President Kevin Pritchard mentioned trade offers for Turner and Domantas Sabonis were already coming in with the trade deadline still months away. Do they pull the trigger on a deal before the New Year? It’s unlikely, but they’re more than willing to see where the market is on both guys and for the entire roster for that matter. There are no untouchables on this team, including Turner. He’s shown flashes as recently as his 40-point outburst against the Washington Wizards on October 22. The issue is these outbursts are just that, flashes that quickly dissipate. He followed up the 40-point effort with 4 points against the Miami Heat and 5 against the Milwaukee Bucks. In fact, he’s cracked the 20-plus point mark only four times since then with eight games with less than 10 points. It isn’t all on Turner, obviously. The Pacers want him to fit a specific mold, one that he seems to be growing tired of. He wants to be more of that 40-point outburst guy. But how he wants to be utilized and how the Pacers want to use him seem to be polar opposites.
Whether one side changes their stance or not remains to be seen and it will continue to play out as we get closer to the trade deadline. To me, it seems like the writing is on the wall that what both sides need is a clean break. The Pacers won’t have to balance minutes between Turner and Sabonis (if either are even still here after the deadline) and Turner can go to a team that can accentuate his skills and defense while contending for a championship. A perfect match in my eyes is the Golden State Warriors, who have all the scoring capability in the world but could use a defensive presence and big man like Turner, who also possesses the talent to put up points.
On Friday’s Kevin & Query, the guys spoke with Jared Weiss of The Athletic, who wrote the article about Turner and got comments from both Kevin Pritchard and Rick Carlisle. To catch the full interview, click on the link below and be sure to listen to Kevin & Query every weekday morning from 7-10 on 93.5 & 107.5 The Fan!