With a reported shakeup looming in Indiana, the Knicks should keep close tabs on Myles Turner
The New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers are both on the outside looking in at the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. It’s no secret that the Knicks are all-in on making the playoffs with this current group. As for the Pacers, that’s a much different story.
Indiana entered the season with a new coach, a similar roster, and high expectations. They haven’t been able to live up to those expectations amidst a 10-16 start. Now, there could be a firesale on the horizon.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania is reporting that the Pacers are “expected to open up trade conversations around some of their veteran stalwarts.” In other words, they are ready to listen to offers for Caris LeVert, Domantas Sabonis, and Myles Turner.
Let’s focus on that last name — Myles Turner. On the court, he’s an obvious fit for the Knicks, but as we all know with trades, it’s not that easy.
Myles Turner Opens the Offense
Myles Turner fits the basic mold of a rim-running center in the NBA. He can protect the rim on defense (more on that in a moment) and serve as a lob threat on offense.
However, he can do more than roll to the basket on offense. Turner is one of the best stretch fives in the NBA, which opens up the pick-and-pop game as well. The 25-year-old — yes, he’s still just 25 — is shooting 39.5% from three on 4.6 attempts per game.
Those are solid three-point numbers for any player, let alone a center with All-Defense potential. Turner’s gravity as a shooter and pick-and-pop threat will help open up space in the paint for others.
Even if the offseason additions of Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier haven’t panned out, they indicate a willingness to improve the team’s spacing.
Mitchell Robinson, Nerlens Noel, and Taj Gibson bring a lot of things to the table, but they don’t shoot the three-ball. Turner could completely change the dynamic of this offense.
Myles Turner Fits Thibs Defense
We all know Tom Thibodeau loves to have a rim protector on the floor as much as possible. If he can go a full 48 minutes with elite rim protectors, he will. Turner would be an upgrade from anyone the Knicks have on the roster defensively.
He’s a two-time NBA block champ and is currently tops in the league with 2.8 blocks per game. This wouldn’t be a case where the Knicks are sacrificing defense to add shooting on offense.
No, Turner would be a clear upgrade on defense in addition to his potentially game-changing offensive skillset.
What Will it Take for the Knicks to Make a Deal?
So, Turner is a perfect fit for what the Knicks want to do on defense and he would help balance out the offense. What else is there to know? The Knicks should get this deal done immediately, right?
Well, despite what NBA Twitter might have you believe, trades aren’t as easy as “see player, get player.” This ain’t NBA 2K.
Teams have been calling the Pacers for years about Turner, according to Charania’s latest reporting and multiple reports over the last few seasons.
It’s safe to assume a trade for Myles Turner wouldn’t come cheap. The good news for the Knicks is that they have a treasure chest of young players, veterans on flexible contracts, and draft assets.
If they want to get a deal done, they have the ammunition. It’s up to Leon Rose and the rest of the front office to decide how much is too much for Turner.
It’s safe to assume that a deal for Turner won’t happen right away. As Charania reports, the Pacers are expected to start fielding calls on Turner and others. That doesn’t mean the Pacers are definitely going to pull the trigger on a Turner trade.
It’s still possible that they decide to flip Sabonis and/or LeVert to build around Turner and a core of young players.
For now, the Knicks can bide their time as they wait for the right moment to strike. Turner isn’t the guy who will catapult the Knicks into title contention right away, but he can be a critical piece on a championship roster.
If nothing else, the front office will have a chance to see Turner up close and personal on Wednesday night. The Knicks will be keeping close tabs on him.
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