Pacers Rumors: Turner, Sabonis, Trade Candidates, Protocols

Pacers big man Myles Turner, who has heard his name included in trade rumors for multiple years, told Jared Weiss of The Athletic that he loves playing in Indiana and wants to win with the team. However, he has also been frustrated with playing what he views as a limited role.

“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 said to Weiss. “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.

“… I’ve been given many roles in the years that I’ve been here, and I feel like I’ve been able to produce at a high level in the roles I’ve been given,” Turner added. “I’ve shown that I can do the things they ask me to do, and I think it’s time to put that all together and be a more prominent night-in, night-out guy on the offensive side of the ball instead of someone who is asked to be a floor spacer and hide in the shadows.”

Turner has enjoyed the occasional offensive outburst this season, scoring 40 points in Washington on October 22 and knocking down seven 3-pointers vs. New York on November 3. However, his modest season-long scoring average of 12.9 PPG is right in line with his career rate (12.7 PPG).

Head coach Rick Carlisle told Weiss that Turner, a talented rim protector, has a significant impact on winning whether he’s scoring or not, noting that the big man’s 40-point night may have “kind of skewed what the day-to-day expectations are” for him offensively. Carlisle and the coaching staff met to discuss Turner’s role this week and vowed to make an effort to get him involved in more actions as a roller. However, sources tell Weiss that Turner remains unconvinced that any positive changes to his role will stick.

“Myles has always wanted a bigger, more important role on the offensive end, but we absolutely know his value overall,” president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard told Weiss. “Sometimes with Myles, we know how good he is and how dominant he is on the defensive end, and I think he wants to be a more complete player, not just a defensive player. I respect the s–t out of that. You know I do.”

Here’s more out of Indiana:

  • Pritchard told Pacers players this week that the team is fielding trade calls for Turner and Domantas Sabonis, but still believes the pairing can work and would be fine seeing it through this season, sources tell Weiss. Carlisle also remains convinced Turner and Sabonis can succeed alongside each other, pointing to their net rating as evidence, Weiss notes. The Pacers have a +10.9 rating when the two big men share the court this season.
  • Turner and Sabonis told reporters on Wednesday that they’re unfazed by the trade rumors and have grown accustomed to them, writes James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. “We want to be here,” Sabonis said. “And as long as we represent the team and have that jersey on our backs we’re gonna come out and compete.”
  • If the Pacers move one of their two big men, Turner appears to be the more likely trade candidate. However, Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer wonders if it should be the other way around, exploring whether Indiana ought to be more open to the idea of building around Turner.
  • There are people in the Knicks‘ front office who like the idea of pursuing a Turner trade this season, Ian Begley of writes in a follow-up to his recent report on the Knicks and Turner.
  • In the latest episode of the HoopsHype Podcast, Michael Scotto and Yossi Gozlan identified the Warriors and Hornets as two teams they view as logical suitors for Turner.
  • The Pacers canceled their practice on Thursday out of “an abundance of caution” related to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, tweets ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. The team didn’t offer any additional details, so it’s unclear whether a member of the organization tested positive. Currently, Justin Holiday is the only Pacers player in the league’s health and safety protocols, having been unavailable since November 30.
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