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Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner is reportedly “intrigued by the chance” to play alongside Tyrese Haliburton and would like to remain with the team despite trade rumors, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.
Per that report, “Turner would also have an opportunity for the larger role he’s wanted offensively with Domantas Sabonis now in Sacramento. Turner and Haliburton never got a chance to play together last season while Turner was out with a foot injury.”
Scotto added that veteran Lance Stephenson is hoping to re-sign with the Pacers.
Turner, 26, appeared in only 42 games for the Pacers last year because of a stress reaction in his left foot. He averaged 12.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game while shooting 33.3 percent from three.
He’s one of the few centers in the NBA who can offer legitimate rim protection and floor-spacing on offense, even if his three-point shot has trended downward since shooting a career-high 38.8 percent from three in the 2018-19 campaign. He hasn’t been above 35 percent since.
The question in Indiana, however, is whether the Pacers (25-57) are doing a soft rebuild in the hopes of sneaking back into the playoffs immediately or whether they want to fully rebuild around the young talent they have in Haliburton (22), Chris Duarte (25), Jalen Smith (22) and the No. 6 overall pick in Thursday’s NBA draft.
If they go the former route, keeping Turner makes perfect sense. If they fully embrace a rebuild around the young talent, however, Turner could fetch players more on Haliburton’s timeline or future draft assets.
As for Stephenson, the 31-year-old would give the Pacers another solid role player off the bench after averaging 9.3 points and 3.9 assists in 40 games last season (one start).
The Pacers could replicate that production with other veterans in free agency, but if Stephenson is willing to return on a veteran minimum contract, a reunion might make sense.