Should the Dallas Maverick’s Pursue a Trade for Myles Turner?
A quarter of the way through the season and the Dallas Mavericks have more questions than answers. While they currently sit at 6th in the Western Conference, their record is .500 and has not inspired much confidence in Mavericks fans. A lot can be said about what needs to be fixed: poor shooting, slow starts, defensive lapses, and personnel. Dallas has attempted to fix their personnel issue at center by starting a combination of Dwight Powell, Willey Cauley-Stein and fan favorite Moses Brown. The results have been subpar at best and downright awful at worst. Jason Kidd clearly has plans for Kristaps Porzingis staying as the starting power forward, which means an athletic center is a fundamental necessity for this roster.
While the Mavericks don’t have any internal options at center that seem like a great fit any longer, one team in the NBA has just put their star on the block who would be an ideal front court mate with Porzingis. The Indiana Pacers have signaled to teams across the league that they are ready to begin a rebuild and will field calls on most of their veteran players, including University of Texas alum and Dallas native Myles Turner. Turner, who was drafted 11th overall in 2015, averages 12.9 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game for the Pacers. More importantly, however, his defensive prowess is his calling card. Turner has averaged 2.3 blocks per game for his career, currently leading the league in that category after having lead the league in two prior seasons (2018-2019 and 2020-2021). Turner is also having the best shooting season in his young career, shooting 68% from two and 40% from three, fantastic numbers for a player who clearly has improved every year of his career.
The fit of Myles Turner on the Mavericks is seamless. The question is whether Dallas has the assets to make a deal happen with Indiana in compliance with NBA salary cap rules. Dallas should shut down any overtures for a Turner for Porzingis trade (unless the Pacers begin to offer Caris LeVert, at which point Dallas should listen). Dallas could offer a package of Dwight Powell, Josh Green, Sterling Brown and a future protected first round pick to sweeten the pot for Turner. Alternatively, a Dorian Finney Smith and Dwight Powell for Turner trade works cap wise as well. However, I don’t believe the Mavericks would be keen on trading their best on ball defender, especially with Reggie Bullock’s struggles to start the season. Unfortunately, the aforementioned deals do not move the needle much for the Pacers. A player of Turner’s caliber would demand more in a trade. For the Mavericks to be taken seriously, they might in fact have to start conversations around a package of Jalen Brunson for Turner. The salaries don’t match up in a one for one trade, but Dallas could mix and match other contracts to make the deal work.
Sending Jalen Brunson to the Pacers would hurt the Mavericks bench unit as they’d lose their primary shot creator and a fantastic teammate, but the benefit of adding Turner might outweigh the bad (especially if Dallas is in line to gain Goran Dragic’s services this season). GM Nico Harrison and owner Mark Cuban have to figure out whether Brunson will be a long term part of this team (i.e. will he sign an extension) and if not, it might be best to part with him for a center like Myles Turner who would immediately add another dimension to this roster that needs an infusion of talent.
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