In early December, Shams Charania and Bob Kravitz of The Athletic (paywall) reported the Indiana Pacers are open to trade talks on Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis, and Caris Levert. Just days after rumors the Pacers are considering blowing up the roster spread through NBA Twitter like a forest fire, Jared Weiss of The Athletic reported that Myles Turner is frustrated with his role in Indiana. When speaking with The Athletic, Turner said:

“It’s clear that I’m not valued as anything more than a glorified role player here, and I want something more, more opportunity. 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.”

Although the 25-year-old center has made it clear he thinks he is ready for a more prominent role on the team, it’s evident that sentiment is not shared throughout the organization. In the aforementioned article by Weiss, Rick Carlisle addressed Turner’s role on the team “I don’t put a lot into his scoring numbers…I think it sounds like the 40-point game kind of skewed what the day-to-day expectations are. It just doesn’t seem to me that should be the case.”

If Turner had any hope left in his mind that his desires for a more significant role on the offense could be fulfilled in Indiana, Carlisle stomped out those burning embers with that statement. A trade seems like the only viable pathway for the two-time NBA blocks leader to no longer be “someone who is asked to be a floor spacer and hide in the shadows.” 

The only team in the entire league currently operating under the cap is the OKC Thunder, so virtually every team with a desire to trade for Turner will have to match salaries which makes things a little tricky but not impossible. Using Fanspo’s trade machine, let’s look at three potential trades that could benefit each respective team, and most importantly, make the veteran big man a happy camper.

Washington Wizards trade Thomas Bryant, Deni Avdija, and Anthony Gil, two future protected first-round picks, and a 2026 second-round pick to the Pacers for Myles Turner

Like the Hornets, the Washington Wizards have desperately needed a legitimate center for quite some time. Thomas Bryant was developing into a solid starter for them before he tore his ACL last season, but he was never a good defender. Daniel Gafford is a solid rim protector but doesn’t provide much offense. 

Turner can add another element to Washington’s offense, running the pick-and-roll with Spencer Dinwiddie and Bradley Beal, providing a scoring presence inside the paint. His ability to knock down shots on the perimeter will also allow head coach Wes Unseld to run five-out sets, opening up driving lanes for Dinwiddie and Beal. More importantly, Turner will improve a defense that currently ranks 24th in the NBA, allowing 48.2 points in the paint per game, and 22nd overall. 

The Wizards will likely have to add multiple draft picks and a young player on a rookie-scale contract like Rui Hachimura or Deni Avdija to get the attention of the Pacers as they look to rebuild. If the Pacers were to agree to a trade, Bryant’s expiring contract will have to be included to match salaries, as the Wizards are operating over the tax.

Charlotte Hornets trade Ish Smith, PJ Washington, Mason Plumlee, future top-eight protected first-round pick, and a 2024 second-round to the Pacers in exchange for Myles Turner

Myles Turner would bring instant credibility to the Hornets defense and give them a much-needed paint presence. Something they’ve lacked since Dwight Howard’s brief stint in Charlotte in 2018. He may not see an uptick in usage on offense as the Hornets have a very deep and versatile team, spreading the ball around to everyone, but he should enjoy playing with a gifted playmaker like LaMelo Ball. Current Hornets starter Mason Plumlee can aid in the development of Isaiah Jackson, and P.J. Washington is only 23 years old on a rookie deal and still has plenty of upside. Ish Smith could be a viable backup and add depth to the Pacers’ backcourt, but Charlotte will still have to throw in some draft picks to get the Pacers to consider the move.

New York Knicks trade Mitchell Robinson, Kemba Walker, Kevin Knox, 2023 top-10 protected first-round pick, and a 2022 second-round pick to the Pacers in exchange for Myles Turner

After making the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade last season, the Knicks have gotten off to a disappointing start, and a trade will send a much-needed jolt through the organization.

One must believe that Kemba Walker has played up his trade value in recent weeks and the Pacers are willing to take a gamble on the 10-year veteran leading their bench unit. Mitchell Robinson is essentially Myles Turner without a three-point shot. Robinson takes away from Carlisle’s offensive creativity, but he won’t lose much on the defensive end. Knox has fallen out of favor with the Knicks brass long ago and could use a fresh start.

If the Pacers elect to blow things up, plenty of playing time could be available for him. Both Knox and Robinson have team options, and the Pacers can rid themselves of them if things don’t work out with them this season, or they can harbor their cheap contracts and see if they can continue developing these two. 

Adding a player of Turner’s caliber will help get New York’s defense back on track. While Robinson is a solid defender, Turner is one of the best defensive bigs and arguably the best shot-blocker in the entire league and possesses better instincts on offense, especially in the pick-and-roll.

Julius Randle and Domantas Sabonis have similar skill sets, so chemistry issues shouldn’t be a problem. While the center position isn’t necessarily featured much in a Tom Thibodeau-led offense, Turner will see a lot of action setting screens, cutting through driving lanes, hanging out in the dunker’s spot, and won’t have to worry about “hiding in the shadows.”