The Indiana Pacers currently find themselves in a very unique position. Thanks to the emergence of Domantas Sabonis and T.J. Warren, there is enough talent on the roster to render other similar pieces tradeable.
That is precisely what appears to be happening with guard Victor Oladipo and big man Myles Turner. According to IndyStar’s J. Michael, the Pacers have discussed possible scenarios that would send both players elsewhere in 3-team deals.
“There are other factors to consider going forward, but Oladipo has been discussed often, including in several three-team deals along with Myles Turner, league sources tell IndyStar,” he wrote this week.
This past year Turner averaged 12.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.1 blocks after signing four-year deal with the Pacers set to pay him $17.5 million annually. Although he was productive, because both he and Sabonis operate in the paint, popular wisdom has been that one needs to go. As a result of Sabonis being the one coming off an All-Star campaign, Turner has become the odd man out.
That being said – he is extremely talented and would be a huge get for whoever lands him.
Turner is an incredible defender, capable of taking on opposing forwards and centers due to his speed, size and versatility. On the offensive side of the ball, he has rapidly improved his shooting from beyond the arc. He is a 36 percent career three-point shooter and started taking four threes per game last year.
Oladipo, meanwhile, is entering the final season of a four-year, $85 million contract. By all accounts, he is looking for max-level cash on his next deal. Because it is uncertain whether the Pacers wants to pay that, trade speculation has run rampant regarding his future with the organization. Some people, like ESPN’s Zach Lowe, think that Oladipo sticking with the Pacers for now makes sense for all involved.
“It would not surprise me if Oladipo and the Pacers come back to the table on extension talks,” he wrote. “(Oladipo can sign an extension at any point during the season.) Indiana can offer him a four-year deal starting at $25 million per season. I’m not sure the Pacers would approach that number, but considering Oladipo’s recent play — and that some potential suitors, including the Miami Heat, have likely backed away — he would be wise to consider securing something.”
What complicates this whole situation is that nobody quite knows what to expect out of Oladipo going forward. He played in 19 outings this past season after suffering a ruptured quad tendon injury in his right knee that kept him out of action for an extended period of time. While he did slowly work himself into shape as Indiana’s first round series against the Miami Heat progressed, he was still clearly not the player he was at his physical peak three years ago.
That season Oladipo averaged 23.1 points and led the league in steals with 2.1 per game. In the process, he earned All-NBA team and All-Defensive team honors. At the time, he looked like one of the most dangerous two-way backcourt players in the entire association. If Oladipo could get back to that level then teams would probably be far more inclined to give him the sort of money he is clearly looking for.
One way or another, the Pacers seem likely to make some sort of move this offseason. What will that move ultimately end up being? Time will tell.