The Indiana Pacers appear to be at a crossroads. While the franchise has been one of the most consistently competitive in the league over the last three decades, the team has gotten out to an 11-16 start this year and reports indicate the front office is willing to listen to calls from other teams who are interested in acquiring a number of their most prominent players.
Among that list of names is Myles Turner, the team’s longtime center whose name has popped up in trade rumors in the past. He’s always stuck around — the Pacers have been adamant about the duo of Turner and Domantas Sabonis working together in their frontcourt — but a new piece by Jared Weiss of The Athletic seems to indicate that Turner is ready for a bigger role.
“It’s clear that I’m not valued as anything more than a glorified role player here, and I want something more, more opportunity,” Turner told The Athletic Tuesday. “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.”
“I’ve been given many roles in the years that I’ve been here, and I feel like I’ve been able to produce at a high level in the roles I’ve been given,” Turner said. “I’ve shown that I can do the things they ask me to do, and I think it’s time to put that all together and be a more prominent night-in, night-out guy on the offensive side of the ball instead of someone who is asked to be a floor spacer and hide in the shadows.”
Despite the obvious frustration, the Pacers reportedly still view the Sabonis-Turner pairing as one that can work, while Turner has not explicitly demanded a trade. In fact, following Wednesday’s night win over the New York Knicks, Turner made clear that he loves Indiana and that he wants to succeed with the franchise.
“For me personally, I love it here. I want to win with this franchise.”
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) December 9, 2021
“I love it here,” Turner said. “I want to win here with this franchise, for whatever that may be. We just gotta get back to bringing excitement and joy back into this building. A lot of that comes from just playing hard, playing like we did tonight.”
On the season, Turner is averaging 12.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, and a league-best 2.8 blocks in 29.1 minutes per game while connecting on 39.7 percent of his attempts from three.