One wouldn’t think the Pacers were looking to shop Myles Turner, among others, judging by Turner’s response to a reporter’s question after Indiana’s dominant Wednesday night win against the Knicks.
“I love it [in Indiana],” he professed. “I want to win here with this franchise, for whatever that may be.”
Sure, by that statement alone, there’s no reason to anticipate a move. However, at the same time, if that’s the only statement taken into account, it may be a sign of living under a rock.
It was on Tuesday that Shams Charania of The Athletic posted a tweet with a link to a report that the Pacers are looking to rebuild. In doing so, Caris LeVert, Domantas Sabonis, and Myles Turner are all up for sale.
And it were those rumors that served as the source of the question that prompted Turner’s insistence on liking it in Indiana.
It all seemed to collapse on the side of a soon-to-be parting for Turner from the Pacers when The Athletic published an article containing an interview with the big man. In it, Turner expressed a desire for a more expansive opportunity.
“It’s clear that I’m not valued as anything more than a glorified role player here, and I want something more, more opportunity,” Turner told Jared Weiss of The Athletic. “I’m trying really hard to make the role that I’m given here work and find a way to maximize it. I’ve been trying to the past two, three seasons. But it’s clear to me that, just numbers-wise, I’m not valued as more than a rotational role player, and I hold myself in a higher regard than that.”
Numbers-wise, Turner is correct. He’s one of two talented big men along with Sabonis, but as the stretch big, Turner has reason to believe his usage is lower than deserved. Turner averages 29 minutes played a game to Sabonis’ 34 minutes, and in terms of touches, Sabonis’ 72.5 per game more than doubles Turner’s 35.6.
“I’ve settled for being just a floor spacer who runs up and down and sits in the corner all game and isn’t active because I thought I was doing what was best at the time,” Turner added in The Athletic. “I wasn’t looking out for myself and was looking out for the team. But I realized that looking out for myself in turn is looking out for the team, so I’ve flipped my mindset going forward.”
It just so happens to be the case that Sacramento offers an exceptional opportunity for the disgruntled Myles Turner, who has one year remaining on his contract.
The Kings have been in need of a quality stretch big for years—many have passed through recently, including Harkless, Metu, Bjelica, and Bagley—so bringing in a 6’11” career 36% shooter from three who’s currently knocking in 1.8 triples a game at 40% this season could really fill that gaping hole.
This would be a seamless move, too, leading to a complementary fit alongside Richaun Holmes, who could move to the power forward position while letting the larger Turner play as a stretch five. With Holmes getting the majority of his points in the paint on push shots, dunks, and layups, the addition of Turner’s ability to stretch the floor could pay off in dividends for this team.
In addition to solid three point shooting, Turner can also help clog up the biggest blood-gusher for this team: defense. He is one of the best defensive centers in the league, having led the league in blocks multiple times in his career, including last season. Even in what he feels is a limited opportunity, he continues leading in that category this season as well.
While Holmes struggles to guard some larger centers, Turner can be slotted in to put an end to the dominance of bigger opponents over the Kings down low.
Holmes is more than well equipped to play the four on defense with his hybrid mix of size and quickness allowing him to play effective defense whether he’s in the paint or forced to come out. Last year, it was Holmes that led the league in defenders who held their opponents to the lowest field goal percentage in isolation possessions at 27.3%.
Of course, there’s the issue of what Turner deems a sufficient opportunity to show what he’s made of. Well, Sacramento hasn’t had an all-star since DeMarcus Cousins departed, and to say the Kings are without a star is hardly met with dispute (at least at this point), so mixed with the fit, there’s ample opportunity for Turner to claim a throne here.
In the very least, if he proves he is just a glorified role player, he’ll be a good one at that, fulfilling this team’s need of stretching the floor and adding much needed defense. That’s the worst case scenario.
Judging that Turner would fit perfectly into the Kings lineup, there is simply very little downside to the prospect of acquiring him, only a large ceiling.
He’ll come at the cost of a couple young players and/or a draft pick or two, but Monte McNair should have his eyes set on the 25 year old big man. Trades and good draft selections are the only way the smaller market Kings can acquire real talent, and Turner presents an excellent opportunity for Sacramento— and in turn, he’ll have his opportunity here.