Pacers Acquire Evan Turner

The Pacers issued a press release to officially announce that they have acquired Evan Turner from the 76ers.  The deal sends Danny Granger and a future second round draft pick to Philly for Turner and forward Lavoy Allen.  The future second-round pick will be the Warriors’ 2015 selection, tweets Tom Moore of Calkins Media.NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia and Indiana teamed up to complete the most significant deadline trade of them all.  Indiana spent most of the season merely open to dealing Granger without actively seeking deals, but that appeared to change last week.  Still, the Pacers were looking to be “blown away” by an offer and hadn’t found a suitable exchange as of this morning.  That clearly changed when Turner entered the mix, and the former No. 2 overall pick figures to give Indiana a significant leg up in the race for the NBA title.

Turner has played his most significant role to date in the final season of his rookie scale contract, averaging a career-high 17.4 points and 6.0 rebounds in 34.9 minutes per game.  He figures to get a raise this summer on his $6.68MM salary, but perhaps not a hefty one, as Philadelphia wasn’t planning to tender a qualifying offer worth more than $8.7MM that would have allowed the Sixers to match offers this summer.  That helped push Turner into trade discussions. Indiana will now have the ability to decide on that qualifying offer this summer, when it faces a tight squeeze underneath the luxury tax to retain unrestricted free agent Lance Stephenson.

The Sixers were holding out for a 2014 first-round pick for Turner, as well as Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young, but didn’t find any such offers.  They agreed to send Hawes to the Cavs for Earl Clark and Henry Sims, but hung on to Young.  Still, Granger is a decent consolation prize, and Philadelphia, flush with cap room, can take on his bloated expiring contract, worth slightly more than $14MM.

Granger led the Pacers in scoring for five straight seasons from 2007/08 through 2011/12, but injury cost him all but five games last year, and he’s been unable to return to form this season in a reserve role.  Still, he’s just 30 years old, and with plenty of shots to go around in Philadelphia, he has an opportunity to strengthen his market value for this summer.

Turner was a hot commodity in trade talks, with the PistonsSuns, Clippers, HawksBobcats, MavsTimberwolves and Spurs all linked to him at one point or another.  Teams were nonetheless wary of giving up other players or picks for Turner, figuring they could sign him as an unrestricted free agent this summer if Philly passed on his qualifying offer.  Depending on how it shakes out with the Pacers, those clubs might not have a chance at him in the offseason.

Allen makes $3.06MM in the final season of a two-year contract he signed with the Sixers after a surprisingly productive rookie season.  He’s averaged 5.2 points in 18.8 minutes per game this year, but he doesn’t figure to have much of a role on the Pacers.  He, like Turner, would become a restricted free agent in the summer if Indiana makes him a qualifying offer, but that seems unlikely, since that offer would be for $3.825MM.

I profiled Turner and Granger as trade candidates earlier this season.

Zach Links contributed to this post.  Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.  Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter linksfirst reported the trade.  Grantland’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link) and Jason Wolf of The News Journal (Twitter link) added details.

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