The new contract brings ‘a sense of relief’ for Pacers center Myles Turner

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Myles Turner’s sweet center beat Giannis Antetokounmpo

After hearing his name frequently mentioned in trade rumors in recent years, Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner finally had the thoughts he’d been looking for after he and his team agreed to a contract extension that was officially announced Monday.

“Obviously there’s a sense of relief knowing there’s security and you can play the game,” Turner said at a news conference Monday confirming the new deal, which ESPN reportedly spanned two years and $60 million.

“It [trading rumours] is something I’ve been going through my whole career. But I want to be here in Indy.”

Turner’s future at Indiana is in question with the Pacers expected to rebuild and the 26-year-old is in the final year of his current contract. The Pacers looked poised to move on last summeeeer when they signed Phoenix center Deandre Ayton for a four-year, $133 million bid that the Suns eventually matched to keep a restricted free agent.

Despite the continued interest from the team ahead of the February 9 trade deadline, the Pacers have instead affirmed their commitment to the eight-year veteran and longest-serving player on the team as one of its core members.

As a staff, we expected this day to come in great despair, said coach Rick Carlisle. “Over the last year and a half, since he’s moved back into position, five years, we’ve seen incredible things.”

Carlisle referred to last February trading All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis to the Sacramento Kings, freeing up Turner as a key interior presence while also landing standout point guard Tyrese Haliburton and long-range shooter Buddy Hield instead.

Turner succeeded both from the switch and from playing with Haliburton, as he is averaging a career-high 17.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game this season while remaining one of the NBA’s best edge guards.

His 2.4 blocks per game puts him fourth in the league, and if he can keep that up, it will be his seventh straight season in the top five for blocks per game, having led the league in 2018-19, 2020-21, and 2021. season. -22.

“I think that makes it easy, when given a full-time position in the top five. It’s something I was looking for,” he said. “Given the situation I’m in now where I can see extra minutes at five o’clock, that’s one of the main things I’m looking for.”

The new deal, which adds more than $17 million to Turner’s 2022-23 salary to help the Pacers rise above the salary cap, also gives Indiana more flexibility going into the season finale with all five starters now under contract for next season.

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