The Pacers and center Myles Turner have opened up discussions about a possible contract extension, league sources with knowledge of the situation tell Shams Charania of The Athletic. Those talks are believed to be in the initial stages, Charania adds.
Turner is earning $18MM in the final year of his current contract and will become an unrestricted free agent in the summer if he doesn’t sign a new deal before then.
With Domantas Sabonis no longer sharing minutes at the five in Indiana, Turner is enjoying the best season of his eight-year NBA career, averaging a career-high 16.7 points in his first 26 games (29.5 MPG). His 7.8 rebounds per game are also a career high, as are his .541 FG% and .417 3PT%. The 26-year-old has provided his usual rim protection too, blocking 2.1 shots per night.
As we explained last month, the Pacers would be limited to giving Turner a 20% starting raise (to $21.6MM) if they offered a standard contract extension. Such an offer would max out at about $97MM over four years.
However, because they’re still well below the salary cap – not to mention the salary floor – the Pacers could complete a renegotiation-and-extension, which would allow them to more than double Turner’s $18MM salary this season (to his maximum of about $37MM) and would give them the flexibility to discuss a much wider range of salary numbers in future years (including a decrease of up to 40% from his renegotiated salary).
According to Charania, Pacers officials have indeed discussed the renegotiation-and-extension framework with Turner’s agent, Austin Brown.
Although Charania says that there’s a March 1 deadline for the two sides to reach an extension, Turner will technically remain eligible to sign a new deal all the way up until June 30. However, teams aren’t permitted to renegotiate players’ current-year salaries after the last day in February. If Turner and his camp are viewing the start of March as the deadline to work something out, that presumably means they won’t entertain a new deal without a 2022/23 salary bump.
Even as they explore an extension for Turner, the Pacers are expected to keep all their options open, including a possible trade before the February 9 deadline. The Lakers and Raptors are among the teams that have shown interest in the big man in recent months, league sources tell Charania.
Turner and Buddy Hield – who has also drawn interest from rival teams this season, per Charania – are considered Indiana’s most obvious veteran trade candidates, though there’s no guarantee that either will go anywhere this season.