Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner is seemingly always the subject of rumors and speculation. Between his talent, age, fit with the old Pacers core, and contract, he has been monitored by NBA teams as a trade target for nearly a half decade now.
That trend continued this offseason. Indiana is changing directions and has acquired several younger players in recent months — 12 players on the Pacers roster are now 25-years old or younger.
Turner, meanwhile, is still a young NBA player. But he will turn 27 during the upcoming season, which may be just outside of the Pacers ideal age range for their rebuild. On top of that, the big man's contract only spans one more season — he can become a free agent at the end of 2022-23.
The eight year pro is extremely talented and is one of the best defensive players in the league. Combine that with the team and contract-related context that currently are a part of Turner's situation, and it makes sense why other teams would be interested in the big man.
The Los Angeles Lakers are one such team that has had interest in acquiring Turner. They have been looking to move on from Russell Westbrook and acquire Turner in a trade during the summer, but those talks were described as "dead" by The Athletic earlier in the offseason.
Still, rumors persisted that the big man could be on the move. That chatter will cease for now, though, as Pacers General Manager Chad Buchanan confirmed in a radio interview that Turner will be on Indiana's roster come opening night.
"Yes," Buchanan said when replying to a question about whether or not Turner would be on the Pacers opening night roster. The interview took place on 1075 The Fan in Indianapolis.
Turner arrived in Indianapolis ahead of training camp last week. He tweeted two heart emojis, one yellow and one blue — Pacers colors, one day after arriving in the Circle City.
"Myles has been an absolute pro," Buchanan added. "He's one of the most outstanding human beings you're going to find in the NBA."
The Pacers are notorious for the way they handle trade talks with their players. The front office always makes it a necessity to inform players when they're in trade talks, which Turner has been often throughout his career.
This offseason is no different in that way. But there was a new wrinkle this summer as the Pacers attempted to add Deandre Ayton to their team, going as far as signing the big man to an offer sheet in restricted free agency. Ayton and Turner play the same position, so adding the Suns' center would have impacted Turner's role and playing time.
Any player could be shaken by that, but Turner has been a pro about everything, according to the Pacers GM. Now, the big man will enter his eighth season with the blue and gold, and it will be totally different from many of his campaigns in the past.
The team may opt to start Tyrese Haliburton, Bennedict Mathurin, Buddy Hield, and Jalen Smith alongside Turner. If that happens, Turner will open the season playing alongside four players he has never played with. It will be a unique challenge.
"We haven't seen him with Tyrese [Haliburton]. We think it's going to fit well," Buchanan shared. Haliburton might be the best passing guard Turner has ever played with.
While the trade rumors will cool down in the short term, Turner is still on an expiring deal. He could sign a contract extension during the season, but President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard wouldn't comment on that possibility during a recent media availability. Thus, it is likely Turner is the subject of trade chatter throughout the season, and it may be smart for the blue and gold to move Turner before the trade deadline instead of risking losing him for nothing in free agency.
For now, though, all is quiet on that front. Myles Turner is in Indianapolis and will open the season on the Indiana Pacers roster. Other teams, the Lakers included, will have to wait if they want to acquire the center in a deal.
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