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Pacers extend Myles Turner for two more years, take him off the trade block

The Pacers are locking in Myles Turner for more years and money, but while he is still eligible to be dealt before the NBA trade deadline, Rick Carlisle says he’s off the market... for now.

Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Earlier this season, Myles Turner (in)famously made the case for the Lakers to trade for him on Adrian Wojnarowski’s podcast. But just a few months later and as part of the latest twist in their now year-long saga that goes all the way back to a TikTok model trying to recruit Turner to Los Angeles at least year’s NBA trade deadline, the oft-rumored Lakers target is extending with the Indiana Pacers.

The report comes from none other than Woj, who Turner’s agents at CAA provided with the full details of the two-year extension:

The Lakers, of course, have been most heavily linked to trades for Turner and his teammate Buddy Hield since last summer, when they reportedly got as close as the proverbial “one-yard line” internally on a deal before deciding against it. And according to Wojnarowski’s follow-up story, that is as close as such a deal is going to get:

Turner’s extension eliminates one of the top possible centers from the summer free agent marketplace — and ends the speculation of a trade deadline deal involving him.

At Turner’s press conference to announce the extension, Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said, on the record, that Turner is off the market:

So that is probably enough to end the rumors about Turner, at least for this deadline. Still, based on both my reading of Larry Coon’s CBA FAQ and the tweets below from two of the NBA media’s leading salary cap experts, Turner is still at least legally trade-eligible in much the same Bojan Bogdanovic is after extending with the Pistons earlier this season.

This is because Turner’s extension is fewer than three years, and because his salary on the extension is declining in value rather than increasing (by virtue of the Pacers frontloading his raise this year with their available cap space).

In fact, this deal realistically makes Turner an even more appealing trade target, even if it also lessens any urgency for the Pacers to move him right this minute for anything less than a great package because they don’t have to worry about potentially losing him for nothing this summer.

But even as unrealistic as it seems now in the wake of Carlisle’s comments, let’s dig in on the pros and cons, because even if the Lakers still can deal for Turner, the ultimate, more important question is still this: Would they still do so?

The pluses of such a transaction would be that instead of wondering how much they’d have to pay Turner in free agency this summer, they now know his price for next several years, and it’s affordable. Also working in favor of a move is that the Lakers no longer appear to be operating as a team that wants cap space this summer after trading for Rui Hachimura, so they don’t really have to worry about cost moving forward, or about losing Turner for nothing if the year didn’t go as well as they hoped.

Still, would they be willing to give up both of their currently tradeable first-round picks now that they know Turner is locked in on a relatively affordable deal long-term? Maybe not. With Anthony Davis playing some of the best basketball of his career at center earlier this year and Thomas Bryant putting up a career year of his own, the Lakers investing big money in another 5 has started to feel increasingly unlikely.

There is also the reality that Rob Pelinka just said this week that he will only include those picks in trades that make the Lakers a title favorite, not just a contender.

Does a Turner deal do that? Probably not. So maybe the Lakers and Pacers’ respective stances from all year change, but it’s still hard not to feel like if the Turner/Hield deal hadn’t been done yet, it just isn’t going to happen.

The only part of this news that potentially changes that would be the Lakers knowing the full price for Turner moving forward, but with Indiana still in the hunt for a play-in spot in the East, it remains to be seen if they are even sellers anymore, anyway. Turner’s new, affordable deal makes him an interesting offseason target, but it seems like his connections to the Lakers are over (at least for now).

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