Myles Turner, a big man with the Indiana Pacers, has been the focus of trade speculations for virtually his entire professional career. Turner was frequently mentioned in connection with a trade involving the Los Angeles Lakers for Russell Westbrook and unprotected future first-round choices just this past offseason.
Unfortunately, the Lakers wouldn’t part with their first-round picks in 2027 and 2029, therefore Turner started the 2022–2023 season still sporting the team’s jersey from the time he was selected in 2015.
The Los Angeles Clippers, who are the Lakers’ closest rivals and who are reportedly interested in making a deal for one of the league’s top rim defenders, appear to be the Lakers’ main contenders for Turner’s services.
The Clippers have an 8-7 record despite Kawhi Leonard missing all but two of their games; this is a respectable but unspectacular performance. However, the level of play this squad has displayed so far this season doesn’t augur well for their long-term prospects as a team with championship aspirations.
With just 105.9 points scored per 100 possessions, the Clippers have the second-worst efficiency in the league. Turner would be useful in that sense since, should the Clippers sign the 6’11 centre, they won’t have to give up a size for shooting or vice versa. A sudden injury to the Croatian centre, Ivica Zubac, could spell difficulties because he is the only dependable traditional centre left on the squad after Isaiah Hartenstein left for the New York Knicks at the end of last season.
The Clipper’s head office is enamoured with the team’s composition of flexible wings, who can make life for their opponents a living hell with an unstoppable small-ball outfit, so it will be difficult for them to come up with the appropriate trade for the Pacers centre. However, if they continue to play.500 basketball for the remainder of the season, they might be forced to take a chance.
Clippers Trade Robert Covington, Amir Coffey, Jason Preston and An Unprotected 2028 First-Round Pick to The Pacers for Myles Turner
The Clippers have a lot of depth on the wings, and they might combine that quality in return for Myles Turner, who is one of the NBA’s most unusual players since he can consistently make threes in addition to being one of the best shot-blockers in the league.
In the modern game, Robert Covington is the prototypical small-ball five, and he demonstrated during his time with the Houston Rockets in 2020 that he is more than capable of playing a significant amount of minutes at what is arguably the most physically taxing position in the league.
Covington, meanwhile, is playing the fewest minutes since his rookie season through the first 13 games of the season, having been overshadowed by the Clippers’ abundance of quality wings.
So, if Covington were to leave, LA could definitely handle it, especially if they received a player of Turner’s ability in exchange. The Clippers could substitute Marcus Morris or Norman Powell for Covington, but their ability to create shots is crucial for a club that struggles to finish baskets.
On the other hand, Terance Mann will be a target for the Pacers, but the Clippers will do whatever to keep hold of his vigour and tenacious defence. They have seen firsthand how Mann can make a difference on both ends of the court, especially after he famously scored 39 points in a decisive playoff game against the Utah Jazz in 2021.
Coffey is more prone to scoring than Mann, and he showed during the 2021–22 season that he can join the NBA rotation despite Paul George and Kawhi Leonard’s extended absences.
He started 30 games last season, averaging 13.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.6 assists while shooting a respectable 48.1 per cent from the field (42.5 from 3-point range on 5.3 tries per night). Should the opportunity present itself, he will have plenty of scoring opportunities in Indiana.
Nevertheless, because they mortgaged away a tonne of draught picks in the deal that brought Paul George to town, the Clippers will experience the same shortage of future draught capital that the Lakers did. The Clippers’ pick in 2028 is the earliest first-rounder they might offer. Given that the Pacers held out for two unprotected selections from the Lakers, that might not seem like much of a return.
However, the Pacers might decide to trade Covington later on for more draught money while also taking a chance on young players like Coffey and Jason Preston, who hasn’t yet established himself as a rotation player in his short professional career. But it’s still unclear whether the Clippers will view making a deal of this size as necessary.