IndyStar Pacers’ insider J. Michael recently reported that the LA Clippers are one of several teams who have inquired about Indiana Pacers Center Myles Turner.
With the trade deadline set for Thursday, March 25, Michael says the Pacers are not currently shopping Turner. They still need to evaluate their current roster, as newly acquired shooting guard Caris LeVert (whom Indiana received as part of the James Harden mega-trade) just made his Pacers debut on Saturday. Michael says the trade tides can shift on a dime, but for now, the Pacers are in no rush to trade Turner (though, he points out, they were willing to offer him in a trade for Gordon Hayward last offseason).
If the tides do indeed shift, the Clippers wouldn’t exactly be the perfect trade partner for Indiana. As with every LA-based trade scenario this season, the Clippers are ill-equipped to offer any team anything of significant value. They are hard-capped, which means they cannot take back any more salary than they are sending out, and they do not have any first-round picks to offer as a result of the Paul George trade. If Indiana, for some unknown reason, is interested in Patrick Beverley (they already have Malcom Brogdon) or Marcus Morris Sr. (they already have T.J. Warren, though he will be out for a while with a foot injury) or Serge Ibaka (they already have...Myles Turner), then maybe the Clippers could swindle Turner away from them. Otherwise, a deal doesn’t seem likely.
Still, it’s worth examining how Turner would fit in LA from a basketball perspective. He’s leading the league in blocked shots by a wide margin with 3.4 per game (Rudy Gobert ranks second at 2.8) and he’s blocking a career-best 9.3% of opponent two-point field goals that are attempted while he’s on the court. Think about that—essentially one out of every 10 shots that are attempted within the three-point arc are being blocked by Turner (this would rank as the highest block rate of the last five years). He would be the idealized, prime version of Ibaka for the Clippers. An elite rim protector who, despite having a down year percentage-wise, has proven that he can spread the floor as a stretch-five. The Clippers could adjust to a drop coverage defense in terms of guarding the pick-and-roll, as they would now have a dynamic shot-blocker patrolling the paint.
In a perfect world, Turner would be a great fit in LA. His unique skillset would make him a great fit anywhere, which makes it even less likely that the Clippers can snag him in the next nine days, but stranger things have happened.