It has been considered for a while that the Pacers could make either Myles Turner or Domantas Sabonis available, with the long-term presence of both, in the eyes of some, qualifying as somewhat redundant. Turner just signed a four-year, $72 million deal with Indiana last October, and now, indeed, Sam Amick of The Athletic is reporting that the Pacers have engaged in “active trade talks” regarding Sabonis.
From The Athletic:
With Domantas Sabonis and the Indiana Pacers far apart in discussions about a possible contract extension, and with a deal looking unlikely as the Monday night deadline looms, sources say the Pacers have engaged in active trade talks with several teams this week about the fourth-year forward. Sabonis, the 23-year-old who arrived with Victor Oladipo in late June 2017 in the Paul George trade with Oklahoma City, is clearly on the market.
Amick goes on to note that there is “no lack of interest in Sabonis,” but that so far, “the Pacers’ asking price in talks with several teams has been too high.”
Sabonis, entering his fourth season and still just 23 years old, is a really good player. You could argue he was Indiana’s best player, in fact, when Victor Oladipo went down. He averaged 14.1 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists last season. He’s a terrific rebounder and facilitator out of the post and scores efficiently in the paint. He has shown signs that he can extend his shooting range. His 27 double-doubles as a reserve last season led all bench players across the NBA.
Indiana likely favors Turner over Sabonis because of the defensive factor. Turner is one of the best rim protectors in the league, and defense, particularly when he’s not at the five spot, is not Sabonis’ strong suit. Still, his offensive ability and size alone, along with his modest $3.5 million salary for this season, make him an attractive option for a lot of teams. Whoever potentially trades for Sabonis would have his rights as a restricted free agent next summer, and they can use this season to evaluate whether they’d want to match any offer he might get on the open market.
The Pacers might be asking for too much right now, but they shouldn’t have to bend all that much given Sabonis’ production and upside.
Courtesy: CBS Sports