Myles Turner has been here before. For the past five years, to be more specific.
Turner finds himself mentioned in trade rumors — most prominently to the Lakers with teammate Buddy Hield for Russell Westbrook in a deal that is currently dead, but there are other rumors, too — and the big man shrugs them off like a guard trying to attack him in the lane. A fantastic piece is up on ESPN’s Andscape where Turner talks about the impact of a trip to Tanzania in July and how being in Africa helped evolve his perspective — it is well worth reading — but for basketball purposes, he also talks a little about the trade rumors surrounding him.
This is my fifth offseason with trade rumors going on. ‘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…
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.
That is the attitude of an NBA veteran — Turner knows it’s a business, knows he has limited control over the situation and is just going to go out and do what he does well. Shrug off the rumors.
Turner’s chance at control is coming next summer — he will be an unrestricted free agent. He’s the game’s leading shot blocker — 2.8 a game last season — and added 12.9 points and 7.1 rebounds a night. The only thing slowing him down was a stress reaction in his foot that sidelined him from mid-January through the end of the season. Turner will make $18 million this season and may be due a raise if he puts together a strong season — he is the kind of defensive rim protector and shot blocker who can anchor a defense, plus he is a career 34.9% from 3. He is a quality modern big man who can help a lot of teams, given the chance.
That includes the Pacers. He could be an interesting pick-and-pop combo with Tyrese Haliburton, if we get to see it. Whatever happens, Turner isn’t letting the rumors impact him and his season.