Myles Turner went on the Woj Pod with ESPN’s NBA newsbreaker Adrian Wojnarowski and talked about dealing with years of trade rumors and even dove into the specifics of the oft-discussed Lakers deal.
“That’s such an intriguing question,” Turner said when asked whether the Lakers should make the deal. “I think personally when you look at this business of the league and know the landscape of the league, you have to go off of your future. We all know picks are so valuable in this league and with someone like myself heading into the last year of my deal you want to make sure you’re getting a return for your assets. If I’m the Lakers, I’m taking a very hard look at this with the position that you’re in. I know what I can provide for a team–my leadership, my shot blocking, my 3-point ability, and just my ability to make plays out there on the floor–and I take a very long look at it. As far as pulling the trigger, I get paid to shoot not to make these calls so I couldn’t answer that.”
It’s bizarre to hear a player both being asked and then answering a question about whether a team should trade for him but here we are. Turner, who did admit the appeal of playing in a bigger market like LA later in the podcast, is certainly in a unique position where he’s been in trade rumors maybe longer than anyone in NBA history and is acutely aware of the Pacers situation with him and his upcoming free agency.
“With me coming into a contract year, you can’t lose me for anything,” Turner said of his situation. “They can’t have the notion of me playing out this year and they don’t trade me and say free agency comes around and I don’t re-sign here. Let’s just be real; that would be bad for them as an organization … so if they do trade me and do get assets for me coming along they are doing what’s best for them.”
Turner seems to have accepted that his time in Indiana is more than likely coming to a close. While he doesn’t outright eliminate the possibility of re-signing with the team, it’s clear that if he does reach free agency, he’s going to want to meet with other teams as he experiences that for the first time in his career. Even with his likely departure looming, Turner has bought into being a veteran leader for this young team.
“I don’t feel like it’s fair to the guys that have worked their entire lives to get here,” said Turner about approaching his situation with the Pacers in any other way, “… It doesn’t happen to a lot of people where they’ve stayed with a team this long and I just want to be an example for these guys. You have to be a constant professional in this league. Talent can only take you so far. The relationships you build over time and the vets you’re around play a big part in what you do. Honestly all you have in this league is your reputation.”
Turner has felt like he was going to be traded at least twice during this long stretch of living in the rumor mill: the Boston and Indiana sign-and-trade with Gordon Hayward that Turner says he thought was a done deal and at the trade deadline last year but his injury prevented interested teams from making a deal. He does appreciate how the Pacers have communicated with him over the years.
“I will say the Pacers organization has done a great job of just communicating with me,” said Turner, who has become intimately familiar with the business of the league after these years of rumors. “Stuff that I see on the internet, if it’s true, they’re going to tell me. If it’s a smokescreen or somebody’s just putting it out for their article for the day, they’re going to tell me that as well. I respect the Pacers organization for that.”
Given his situation and how long it’s been going on, his professionalism should be commended–as Woj put it on the podcast many players can check out once they know they’re on the trade block and they distance themselves from the team. Turner hasn’t done that. While it’s clear he’s also looking out for himself in this situation, it’s hard to blame him if he believes that will be signing with another organization.
“As a young guy in this league, you watch everything the vets do … and I know these young guys are watching me in the ways I handle stuff like this. I could go out here and dismiss everything, stay to myself, not speak and just be about my brand and what-not–to an extent I am–but I also want to see some of these young guys succeed as well and we have the roster for that. It’s important for me to give the game that was given to me as well. I can’t carry myself in any other way.”
Turner’s confidence in his abilities are very evident throughout the podcast and he seems very anxious to “put the league on notice” as he puts it this year. As for his young point guard Tyrese Haliburton, Turner is very impressed with his immense potential.
“I think the sky’s the limit for Tyrese and he’s rolling right now,” said Turner. “… He’s going to be great in this league. He is so good and in his third year he still has such a long way to go. We’re seeing just a little bit of what he’s capable of. I mean he’s doing everything going to his right hand, wait until he starts going left and making these plays, wait until he gets a little bit stronger going downhill. There’s these little things that he can add to his game that’s going to take him over the top that he doesn’t necessarily need right now. That’s what intrigues me the most about Tyrese.”
Turner commends Haliburton for how he handled being traded from the Kings organization to being thrust into a leadership role with the Pacers.
“I think he’s an All-Star type of talent. He’s going to be a Chris Paul type of guy and lead the league in assists for years to come. I’m happy just to be a part of it for the time that I am, for the time that I can be in this young part of his career. He’s somebody I’ve been a fan of for a long time and I’m going to continue to watch him grow.”
Even with talking about other players, it’s clear that Myles knows he’s likely gone whether that’s the team trading him or him leaving in free agency. It doesn’t seem to be a matter of if but when.