While Indiana Pacers front office head Kevin Pritchard wants to keep his core group together, we fully expect a Myles Turner trade to take place this summer.
Coming off a 2020-21 campaign in which he led the NBA in blocks and should have been a Defensive Player of the Year finalist, Turner just doesn’t seem to be a great fit next to All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis in the Pacers’ frontcourt. The 25-year-old former first-round pick from Texas has also been the subject of trade rumors for over the past year.
If Indiana were to move off Turner, there’s no shortage of teams who would be interested in his services. He’s still young. He’s elite on defense. He has proven to be a decent scorer. Below, we look at four ideal Myles Turner trade scenarios this summer.
Myles Turner trade to the Minnesota Timberwolves
- Timberwolves get: Myles Turner
- Pacers get: Malik Beasley, Naz Reid, two second-round picks
J. Michael of the Indy Star reports that the Timberwolves “really want” Turner in a trade with Indiana. It makes perfect since with Minnesota looking to find a defensive standout to team up with the offensive-minded Karl-Anthony Towns in the frontcourt. The only question here is whether the Wolves could pull off a trade of this ilk with their first-round pick likely heading to the Golden State Warriors.
That’s where Malik Beasley comes into play. Following an incident back in October of 2020 in which he was charged with drug possession and threats of violence, he copped a plea with authorities. He’s currently serving a 120-day sentence in jail and was suspended 12 games by the NBA last season. The short of this story? If Beasley has learned his lesson and an NBA team wants to give him a chance, Indiana makes sense sense.
Still only 24, Beasley averaged 19.6 points on 40% shooting from distance as a two-guard in Minnesota last season. He would undoubtedly pack a scoring punch off the bench, backing up Caris LeVert at the two and T.J. Warren at the three. Meanwhile, the 21-year-old Reid averaged 11.2 points and 4.6 rebounds as a sophomore last season. He could potentially start at center for Indiana.
Myles Turner trade to the Portland Trail Blazers
- Trail Blazers get: Myles Turner, Justin Holiday
- Pacers get: Jusuf Nurkic, Robert Covington
This would require general manager Neil Olshey actually moving away from the stance that the Blazers’ struggles on defense last season had more to do with recently-fired head coach Terry Stotts than actual personal. You know, taking some of the responsibility. Portland yielded north of 114 points per game and boasted the second-worst defensive rating in the NBA during the regular season before a premature first-round exit in the playoffs.
The common theme here was defense. Covington did not live up to his end of the bargain after being acquired from the Houston Rockets. Nurkic has never been a key staple on defense. Adding the NBA’s leading shot blocker from last season would be an absolutely tremendous start for Portland as the team attempts to find a way to retain Damian Lillard long-term.
As for Indiana, it goes a different route in the low-post. The 26-year-old Nurkic is somewhat of an injury-plagued enigma (45 games over the past two seasons). However, he’s a toolsy offensive player. Since the start of the 2017-18 season, he’s averaging 14.4 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists while shooting 51% from the field. He’d be a great fit next to Domantas Sabonis inside. Acquiring Covington would come with the hope that he returns to the three-and-D form that defined his days with the Timberwolves, 76ers and Rockets.
Myles Turner trade to the Charlotte Hornets
- Hornets get: Myles Turner
- Pacers get: Miles Bridges, Vernon Carey Jr., first-round pick
Another team that’s in on Turner, it would not be a surprise if the Hornets pulled off this trade. With all due respect to Cody Zeller, they are in need of a legitimate low-post presence and someone who can consistently guard opposing big men. With the core of LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, P.J. Washington and Gordon Hayward set, center is the only real need for Charlotte. Turner would be a tremendous upgrade over Zeller.
For Indiana, this might make the most sense. Not only does it add a still-young 23-year-old wing, the team picks up Charlotte’s first-round selection in 2021. It’s projected to be 11th overall. This would likely give the Pacers two of the first-13 picks in the annual event, potentially enabling them to trade into the top five for an elite young talent or move these pieces with other assets for another core piece in the starting five. It would give Kevin Pritchard a ton of options.
Myles Turner trade to the New York Knicks
- Knicks get: Myles Turner
- Pacers get: Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox, two 2021 first-round picks
Defense. Defense. More defense. That was the name of the game for the surprising Knicks in 2020-21 under NBA Coach of the Year Tom Thibodeau. New York finished first in points allowed and third in defensive rating. Why not add another elite-level defender to the mix? We know the Knicks are going to look for scoring this summer. That’s not a shock. However, bringing Myles Turner in at the cost of an injury-plagued center, former first-round bust and two late first-round selections in 2021 makes sense.
As for the Pacers, this would be all about creating the flexibility I mentioned above. Pritchard and Co. would have three first-round picks to work with while moving to under the projected 2021-22 NBA salary cap. The hope here is also that the 23-year-old Robinson can remain healthy and end up being Turner’s replacement at the five. Prior to going down to injury this past season, the young center was averaging 8.3 points and 8.1 rebounds. He boasts a nice amount of upside.