Turner agrees to stay with Pacers on 2-year extension
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By MICHAEL MAROT
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Myles Turner is staying with the Indiana Pacers a while longer.
The two-time NBA blocks champion has agreed to a two-year contract extension, keeping Indiana's starting five intact through next season. Terms of the deal have not been released but The Athletic and espn.com first reported the deal is for $60 million and will pay Turner an additional amount this season to help Indiana spread the money out for salary cap purposes.
Coach Rick Carlisle told reporters Sunday, before Indiana's game at Memphis, that a news conference to officially announce the deal will be held Monday when the team returns.
"It's just great news that there's an agreement in place for Myles Turner," Carlisle said. "He's been amazing for two years. I can't talk in detail about it, but it's just great news for the franchise and the city, obviously for him and for the organization. That's great and that's it."
In recent years, Turner has widely been rumored to be on the move. Many thought that the former University of Texas star would be dealt last summer when the Pacers were revamping the roster.
Instead, president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard and Carlisle continued saying they thought Turner could be part of what Indiana's future, and Turner's commitment to the Pacers never wavered.
"My job is to come in here and help these young guys out," Turner said when training camp opened in September. "As long as I'm in this uniform, I'm going to go out there and represent the state how I'm supposed to represent it and represent my team in the same manner."
Playing alongside point guard Tyrese Haliburton for most of this season has helped Turner deliver a long-awaited breakthrough since he was drafted at age 19 with the 11th overall selection in 2015.
Turner has consistently been one of the league's top rim protectors.
But with Haliburton running the show, his offense has improved, too. Turner is averaging 17.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, shooting 54.4% from the field and 39.1% on 3-pointers - all career bests - while still blocking 2.4 shots.
The other concern has been injuries. Turner has missed at least 17 games in five of the previous seven seasons and played in only 89 total games in 2020-21 and 2021-22 with an assortment of ailments. He even missed five of this season's first seven games because of an ankle injury he suffered during warmups for October's season opener.
Since returning, Turner has played a key role in helping the surprising Pacers win 24 of their first 50 games and stay in playoff contention.
The extension also may give Indiana even more leverage moving forward.
All five of this season's starters are signed through next season and two, Haliburton and forward Aaron Nesmith, won't become restricted free agents until 2024-25 - the same year Turner's new deal expires.
Plus, the rookie deals of starting guard Andrew Nembhard and scoring sensation Bennedict Mathurin won't expire until 2026-27.
That leaves only Buddy Hield's long-term future in doubt. The contract of the NBA's current leader in 3-pointers made runs out after next season. Hield will be 31 years old in December.
Salary cap projections also have the Pacers ranked among the top seven teams with the most space each of the next three seasons and they could have up to three first-round draft picks in June to continue building around a nucleus that now includes Turner.
AP freelancer Clay Bailey in Memphis, Tennessee, contributed to this report.
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Updated January 29, 2023