The Lakers did and passed, but the other Los Angeles team might not.
The Clippers have a quality starting center in Ivica Zubac. Still, they miss now-Knick Isaiah Hartenstein as a backup and are looking to upgrade at the five, reports Eric Pincus at Bleacher Report. He reports they have had internal discussions about Turner.
According to multiple sources, the Clippers have discussed targeting Myles Turner in the market.
The Clippers are believed to be shopping some of their excess wing depth and are less likely to move a ball-handling guard like Reggie Jackson or John Wall. Team governor Steve Ballmer has shown a willingness to pay luxury taxes—the need to pay Turner after the season wouldn’t be a deterrent for L.A.
Turner is averaging 17.9 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.1 blocks a game in Indiana this season.
I’m a cynic when it comes to trade rumors. In this case, I know Pincus well and trust his sources, he’s not making anything up, but this also feels like something Turner’s agent and/or the Pacers wanted to see public to start to ramp up the trade market. That doesn’t mean the Clippers have no interest, but all trade rumors are part spin by someone.
What would a trade look like? From the Clippers’ perspective they would love to do something like Robert Covington (who is in and out of the rotation as a backup center), a prospect like Brandon Boston Jr., and a future pick (a first or a couple of seconds). The Pacers, who sit at .500 (6-6) and historically are not a team that tanks, might ask instead for a player who can help them now such as Marcus Morris Sr. or Luke Kennard (not sure the Clippers would surrender Norman Powell, but maybe).
The fact that the Pacers never tank might be the catch here, the Pacers may not be eager to deal. However, Turner is a free agent after this season so if the Pacers don’t plan to pay him they should trade him rather than let him walk and get nothing back.
For the Clipper front office, the question should be: Is giving up a quality wing player for a center to split minutes with Zubak that much better than the veteran free agent centers still available: Tristan Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins, Hassan Whiteside (Dwight Howard took himself off this list to play in Taiwan)?
For his part, in a recent appearance on The Woj Pod, Turner sounded like a guy looking for brighter lights than Indiana.
“Just playing in the bigger market, I just feel like here in the Midwest we don’t get the love that I think we deserve. It doesn’t get taken on the national level. You are under the microscope out there at the West, when you are doing bad you going to hear about it.”
The Clippers are slow-playing the season. While they are 8-6 with Paul George carrying a heavy load, the focus is more on April/May/June than November. Kawhi Leonard remains out, the Clippers are not trying to rush him back, and the focus is more to be peaking at the right time than pushing themselves too hard now.
Along those lines, the Clippers can be patient and wait on talking to the Pacers about Turner. There is no rush.