Another summer of trade rumors has not fazed Indiana Pacers big man Myles Turner, who says he found peace during a recent trip to Tanzania and is “numb” to all of the drama at this point in his career.
Earlier this offseason, Turner went to Tanzania to work with Malcolm Brogdon’s Family Foundation and Hoops for Humanity, helping build wells for clean water and hosting basketball clinics. He also used the trip to learn about the history of the country and recenter himself ahead of the upcoming season.
“This is my fifth offseason with trade rumors going on,” Turner told Andscape. “‘He’s going to land here; he’s going to do this. He going to do that.’ I am finally numb to it, in a sense. So that’s another thing that I was proud of myself for as well. I was able to immerse myself in the experience of Africa as opposed to my own personal life or my own selfish reasons.
“The way I’m perceiving everything now, my outlook is I’m in great shape right now. I’ve worked my way back for my injuries. And just carry myself as a professional as I always have. Whether that’s in [Pacers] training camp or whether that’s a training camp somewhere else, I’m going to go and be myself. And that’s all anybody, that’s all I can expect for myself. It’s definitely a proving season for me. Just proving it to myself, what I’m capable of. Playing a five position, something that’s obviously very important to me. Something that I’m looking forward to doing this year. My mentality is solid. I’m good to go and everything’s tight in my corner.”
At his best, Turner is the perfect center for the modern era, one who can lead the league in blocks and knock down 3-pointers at a solid clip. Those skills make him intriguing to playoff teams, and a very reasonable four-year, $80 million contract (which comes to an end after this season) makes him easy to fit into trades.
Between some inconsistent play on his end, injuries and the Pacers’ changing fortunes, a deal has never gotten done. But until a trade actually happens or Turner hits free agency, the rumors won’t stop — especially now that the Pacers seem to have embraced a full rebuild.
Most recently, Turner has been mentioned as a potential target for the Los Angeles Lakers. Talks of a swap that would send Turner and Buddy Hield to the Lakers in exchange for Russell Westbrook and draft compensation eventually broke down over the Lakers’ refusal to include two first-round picks, but they could pick up again at some point if there’s no other way for the Lakers to move Westbrook.
Whatever happens, Turner will be ready to bounce back from a disappointing 2021-22 campaign in which he was limited to just 42 games due to a foot injury.