According to NBA insider Marc Stein, Turner and the Pacers are expected to have contract talks this offseason, but he isn’t ruling out the possibility of playing out the remainder of his current contract, which will pay him $18 million next season.
Stein noted that such a scenario would put the Pacers in a tough spot since Turner could leave in free agency next offseason, meaning Indiana would perhaps consider trading him during the 2022-23 campaign.
The Pacers took a big step toward committing to Turner for the long haul last season when they traded All-Star big man Domantas Sabonis to the Sacramento Kings in a deal that netted guards Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield.
The 26-year-old Turner suffered a stress reaction in his left foot before the trade and never made it back during the 2021-22 campaign, limiting him to just 42 games.
Turner was productive when healthy once again last season, averaging 12.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.8 blocks, 1.5 three-pointers made and 1.0 assist while shooting 50.9 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Durability has been an issue for him over the years, though, as he has played in less than 50 games in each of the past two seasons and has appeared in 70 or more games just twice in seven NBA seasons.
Signing Turner to a new deal this offseason would mean going in blind, but waiting until during the season would possibly increase the likelihood of losing Turner for nothing or having to trade him.
After making the playoffs in nine out of 10 seasons, the Pacers missed the postseason in 2020-21 with a 34-38 record and fell off even more last season to 25-57, marking their worst record since the 1984-85 season.
Turner’s status as a two-time NBA blocks champion and a defensive force at center makes him a valuable asset to the Pacers, but it may be worth exploring a trade for more future assets to accelerate the rebuild if he doesn’t want to re-sign.
source: Bleacher Report