Following extension, Pacers take Myles Turner 'off the trade block'

Following extension, Pacers take Myles Turner 'off the trade block'

Since entering the NBA in 2015, Myles Turner has seen his name surface in trade rumors constantly. One could argue that he's been featured in the rumor mill more than any other NBA player over that span.

Despite all of the rumblings, Turner has never actually been dealt. Even when the Indiana Pacers blew up their roster last season — trading away veterans like Domantas Sabonis, Caris LeVert, Torrey Craig, Justin Holiday and Jeremy Lamb — they ultimately decided to keep Turner.

Now, after signing a two-year, $60 million extension with the Pacers (that includes a $17.1 million renegotiation of his 2022-23 salary), it would seem that Turner isn't going anywhere. 

On Monday, the team held a press conference to announce the extension and Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard was asked if Turner is finally off the trade block.

"Yes, he's off the trade block!" Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle immediately chimed in.

"One of the things that we've always believed in here is that if you sign a player, it's to sign a player; we don't sign a player to trade a player," Pritchard said. "And Myles has blossomed this year. We've seen the relationship with him and Ty [Haliburton]; they're one of the best pick-and-roll [duos] in the league right now. This is the beginning of a nice core — no, a great core — and we signed Myles to be here. That's our goal."

"I'm here to stay," Turner added with a smile.

This season, Turner is averaging career-highs in points (17.5), rebounds (7.8), three-pointers (1.6), field goal percentage (54.4%) and three-point percentage (39.3%). Meanwhile, he continues to dominate defensively, averaging 2.4 blocks (fourth-most in the NBA) and 0.6 steals.

Looking at Turner's advanced stats, he's also posting career-bests in True Shooting percentage (64.8%), total rebound percentage (23.0%) and player efficiency rating (19.8).

"I'm gonna tell ya'll right now: I'm just getting started. The best version of myself is yet to come," Turner said. "I'm just leveling up each and every day."

"We've seen him play some of his best basketball this year and it really makes me proud to see Myles sitting here and accomplishing what he's accomplished," Pritchard added. "And I think his best is still to come." 

Carlisle praised Turner's development and said that he and his coaching staff "were hoping that this day would come very desperately."

“Myles’ values and what he stands for really align with what we’re trying to do here," Carlisle said. "His love of the game, his loyalty to his teammates and to this city and to our vision, and his commitment to growth has been something that’s been great to see. And over the last year-and-a-half, he’s transitioned back to his natural position as a full-time five man and we’ve seen him flourish."

Pritchard revealed that the two sides had extension talks last year, but Turner chose to bet on himself and wait. One month ago, the negotiations started back up and they were able to reach an agreement.

“Give Myles a ton of credit here because he took a risk,” Pritchard said. “We talked about an extension in the past, but he wanted to wait another year. He wanted to be in a position where he was playing the right position, the one that he’s most comfortable with."

"This has been a really great example of a player having a vision and having the discipline and patience to wait it out and put himself in this great position with the right players [surrounding him]," Carlisle added.

Many of Turner’s teammates came in during their day off to show their support at the press conference and put in some extra work. Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Andrew Nembhard, Bennedict Mathurin, Trevelin Queen, James Johnson and Oshae Brissett were all in attendance — a testament to the Pacers’ culture. Turner believes that this organization is building something special.

“I think that that’s a huge reason why I stayed here: I really truly believe that we can accomplish something here," Turner said. "You’ve got to start from somewhere. We have a team that’s on the up and up. Today was supposed to be our blackout day, but I see countless players here getting their work in. That’s the type of stuff I respect and the type of stuff that I came up on... That made the decision really easy.”

Pritchard acknowledged that the Pacers have exceeded expectations this year, which factored into the decision to extend Turner. Despite having one of the league’s younger teams, Indiana is 24-28 — which is just a half game back from the Play-In Tournament and two games back from the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed. 

Turner has been with the Pacers since he was 19 years old, and he appreciates the fact that he's been able to stick with one team up to this point in his NBA career. 

“It’s still very surreal. Growing up here, I’ve spent my entire 20s here," Turner said. "It’s incredible to still see the same faces from the beginning of my journey. I have such a strong belief in this organization and this city… 

“I’m still here where I started, and that’s very special to me. I want to continue to grow here, continue to grow this organization, continue to grow with my team and put Indiana back on the map."

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