Why the Myles Turner contract extension is so friendly to the Pacers | Opinion

The Indiana Pacers have signed center Myles Turner to a two-year, $60 million contract with $17.1 million added to his 2022-23 salary, bringing it to approximately $35.1 million, according to a report from The Athletic. A league source confirmed to the IndyStar that an agreement was reached.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Turner will be paid approximately $20.9 million in 2023-24 and $19.9 million in 2024-25, but the additional money he will make this year brings up the total average. Renegotiations such as the one the Pacers did with Turner are extremely rare but was possible because the Pacers were so far under the salary cap.

Turner has been the source of trade speculation as his four-year contract worth approximately $18 million per year was set to run out at the end of the season. This deal may not fully quell trade rumors. He's still eligible to be traded before the deadline on Feb. 9. However, it at least assures that if the Pacers don't trade him, they cannot lose him for nothing at the end of this season.

Myles Turner has reached a unique two-year extension with the Pacers.
Myles Turner has reached a unique two-year extension with the Pacers.

The deal is team friendly for the Pacers because Turner won't take up an exorbitant amount of cap space the next two seasons. If he is paid $20.9 million as reported in 2023-24, that would take up less than 16% of a salary cap projected to be at $134 million. He will take up even less space of the cap in 2024-25 by which time the Pacers will be looking at an extension for Tyrese Haliburton, who would be at the end of his four-year rookie deal.

And if Turner and the Pacers decide to pursue a trade, his new contract makes him a more attractive asset and easier to move to a desired location for a better return.

Turner is in the midst of his most productive season as a professional, averaging 17.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, both career highs. He also has career bests in field goal percentage (.544), 3-point field goal percentage (.391) and effective field goal percentage (.611).

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Part of the reason he has been so effective is for the first time in years he's been able to focus solely on the center position. Before the Pacers traded Domantas Sabonis to the Kings for Haliburton and Buddy Hield last February, Sabonis was playing the five while Turner was frequently playing power forward alongside him.

"He's been itching to play the five," Pacers lead assistant coach Lloyd Pierce said Saturday. "What that means and what it does is it puts him into the action in terms of setting screens, being in trail, reversing the ball through him. Any player knows when they get to touch the basketball, whether they're shooting it, passing it or just reversing it, it just engages their mind a little bit. We're seeing him finish at the rim. We're seeing him get more shots at the rim this year. We're seeing him make a concerted effort to get offensive rebounds, especially against teams that switch and he's got a smaller guy on him. But I think he's embracing the role. I think he's embracing the physical nature that we need from him."

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Pacers, Myles Turner agree to unique to 2-year contract extension