Longtime Target Myles Turner Talks Celtics Trade Rumors

Myles Turner, right, blocks an attempt by Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics.

Getty Myles Turner, right, blocks an attempt by Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics.

It’s been an odd season for Pacers center Myles Turner. Back in November, before the year even began, Turner was the centerpiece of trade talks between Boston and Indiana, seemingly destined to be dealt for Indianapolis native Gordon Hayward. According to reports, the Pacers had offered Turner, along with a first-round pick and Doug McDermott, but the Celtics wanted more—either T.J. Warren or Victor Oladipo.

The talks stalled, allowing the Hornets to swoop in and grab Hayward on a four-year, $120 million mega-deal.

Turner, nearly a Celtic, remained in trade rumors all year, even as he led the league in blocked shots (3.4 per game) and established himself as a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. His season ended, though, in April because of a bad toe injury. He is hoping to be back in time to compete for Team USA in this summer’s Olympics and he’s likely to be the subject of trade rumors again this offseason—with the Celtics perhaps again interested.

He’s just trying not to think about it. Asked about the Boston rumors, Turner told Heavy.com:

I love Indianapolis and there’s no place I’d rather be than here – it’s my second home and the fans are the best the NBA has to offer. In terms of any trade rumors, I’m really just trying to stick to basketball. I’m laser-focused on being the best I can be on the court, supporting my teammates and trying not to get wrapped up in rumors. And at the end of the day this is a business I’m fully aware of that and conduct myself as such, I’m confident in my skillset and growth that I feel I’d thrive anywhere I’m at.

The grass is greener wherever I’m at.

Myles Turner Non-Trade Haunted Celtics All Season

For Celtics fans, not dealing for Turner was seen as a failing on the part of team president Danny Ainge, especially as the two targets he preferred—Oladipo and Warren—struggled with injuries while McDermott had a career year (13.6 points, 38.8% shooting from the 3-point line). The Celtics wound up with a trade exception from the Hayward deal, which they used to take on shooting guard Evan Fournier at the trade deadline.

Of course, what is often left unsaid about the possible Hayward-for-Turner deal is that Boston and Indiana’s negotiations all along could have been scotched once the Hornets stepped in. Charlotte was always going to pony up a big-time contract for Hayward, and Hayward could have ditched both Indiana and Boston once that happened.

But there is still the matter of Turner, a guy the Celtics still like at a position—center—that remains unsettled. Boston could make another run at him this offseason but it will likely cost them a favorite guard.

Turner Deal Would Likely Cost Celtics Marcus Smart

Turner is set to make $18 million per year over the next two years. For the Pacers to send him away, the Celtics almost certainly would have to give up Marcus Smart, who is slated to earn $14.3 million next season, the final year on his contract.

Smart’s name has come up in trade talks this season mostly because of his impending free agency. The Celtics are unwilling to overpay for a guy like Smart, whose energy and toughness are welcome but who has also become known for his penchant for bad decisions and clanging shots.

Smart and Turner could be swapped straight up, but it is likely the Celtics will want to loosen the logjam at center by trading oft-injured center Robert Williams III in the package. Boston would probably like to expand the entire package on both sides, perhaps bringing in Doug McDermott while sending out former Indiana star Romeo Langford.

Final deal: Smart, Williams and Langford for Turner and McDermott.

It’s not a bad package for the Celtics, but then, we’re reminded again how Ainge botched this. The Celtics probably could have had Turner and McDermott in November if they’d moved quickly on a Pacers trade before Charlotte came in with the big offer.

So Turner is still in Indiana. And, he says, quite happy about it.




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