The Indiana Pacers may be a talented team, but they will likely retool their roster this offseason because they have a logjam in the frontcourt and many roles to fill. This will force the team to tinker with their roster as they determine their core heading into next season.
They’ve already initiated some changes this offseason. First-year head coach Nate Bjorkgren has been fired after the Pacers failed to make the playoffs and severely under-achieved given their talent.
Myles Turner has become the subject of trade rumors over the past few seasons because he played fewer minutes after Domantas Sabonis’ All-Star surge this season. Keeping two near-7′ players on the court simultaneously can be troublesome in the modern NBA, and it proved especially difficult to play both at the end of games. The hot hand would usually be put in to close while the other player sat on the bench.
This drew a lot of attention from teams in need of Turner’s diverse skill set. He’s a solid shooter from three and defends the paint at an elite level. The Boston Celtics got close to acquiring him last offseason, and the Wolves will have multiple offers to compete with.
So how do we value his skillset? Let’s start with a mock trade.
Beasley’s microwave offense could be an easy Doug McDermott replacement and what they wanted in Jeremy Lamb when they signed him as a free agent. He’d also help mitigate the potential loss of T.J. McConnell, a bench spark plug who is a pending free agent. Indiana could use a guy with a high motor and energy, regardless of whether he’s coming off the bench or in the starting lineup.
Reid is a plug-and-play option as well. He would battle for minutes with Goga Bitadze, stretching the floor and providing viable rim defense. Naz being off the floor to close games is something the Pacers can likely live with.
Indiana would expect pick compensation as well, given that they are giving up a proven 25-year-old NBA player.
Why give up two good, young players for Turner? To put an elite defender next to Karl-Anthony Towns.
Jarred Vanderbilt carved out a role for himself next to KAT last year, but he has minimal offensive upside. However, Turner can hit the corner three, spreading the floor by keeping defenses honest. In short, he is an excellent role player and would not negatively affect the Wolves on either side of the ball.
This would dovetail with Rosas and Finch’s agenda of having several shooting threats along the perimeter. Turner fits the mold perfectly as the coveted 3-and-D player that every team wants.
Towns would benefit from Turner’s presence because Turner would take the best offensive big, allowing KAT to prey on easier matchups. Hiding Towns on defense would be better than having a lockdown defender on the primary ball-handler. KAT could then use much more energy attacking and scoring on the offensive side. And his improved passing ability, which he showcased this season, would be even more effective with spacing across the floor.
The most significant drawback here is that a two-way power forward would be a better fit than a center next to KAT. And a versatile defender would be a more valuable addition than Turner. Somebody like Robert Covington, who we saw excel in the role at the 4 next to KAT, would make life much easier for everybody.
And the addition of Turner could hurt Minnesota late in games when most teams tend to go small. Having that many bigs on the court would be a huge limitation. Putting one on the bench would create the same scenario that was the issue in Indiana, and the Wolves could use a versatile piece to go after the opposition’s primary scorer.
Finally, a combined 24.5 shots per game and 30.8 points per game would be lost with Naz and Malik departing. Other, lesser-proven players would have to step up — a lot to ask in a season where the Wolves need to make the playoffs. Depth pieces would have to replace the efficient outside shooting.
At the end of the day, Turner is the ideal fit as a big man next to KAT if they fail to get Evan Mobley in the draft. If the Pacers are looking to overhaul their roster, Rosas needs to acquire about Turner. However, Rosas should not feel the mandate to make this move. If Indiana’s ask for Turner is too high, he has other options.