The Indiana Pacers might be the biggest seller at this season’s trade deadline. Back in December, we learned the organization was open to dealing high-profile talents Myles Turner, Caris LeVert, and All-Star Domantas Sabonis. Now, with the February 10 deadline quickly approaching, the team has reportedly made clear what they want in return for two of their top-3 trade candidates.
According to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, the organization is seeking either two first-round picks or one first-round pick and a “promising young player” in return for Turner’s services. As for LeVert, the organization wants a similar package that involves a first-round pick and a “good” young player.
Scotto also confirmed six teams that are currently interested in pursuing a Turner deal, with the Knicks and Hornets as the only two Eastern Conference squads mentioned. However, the Cavaliers also enter the discussion as a landing spot for LeVert.
Cleveland, who holds the East’s 6th-best record, comes as no surprise as a team searching for backcourt reinforcements. The organization lost both sparkplug scoring guard Collin Sexton and resurgent point guard Ricky Rubio to season-ending injuries. The team did quickly add veteran Rajon Rondo after Rubio went down, but room remains open for an efficient scorer on this 14th-rank offense.
Of course, any movement among potential Eastern Conference playoff teams is worth monitoring for the Chicago Bulls, especially in the wake of this recent eye-opening stretch. Chicago has lost three straight, which included back-to-back blowout (and we’re talking BLOWOUT) losses to the Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors. The team’s East lead has been diminished to just a .5-game over the Nets and only 2.5 games currently separate seeds 1-6.
We also have to monitor the Bulls’ potential interest in any of these big-name trade chips. While Chicago has not been directly tied to either LeVert or Turner, we know this Karnisovas-led front office moves quietly in the night. Now, I do think it’s safe to assume this guard-heavy and offensive-minded roster isn’t interested in what LeVert has to offer, but Turner is a name many fans have liked to toss around.
Chicago has allowed the 3rd-most point in the paint since the start of December, and their overall defensive rating has sat just 26th in the league over the previous 19 games. Turner is the NBA’s leading shot-blocker, averaging 2.8 swats per game. He also provides an ability to stretch the floor on the offensive end, shooting 34.9 percent on his career from behind the arc. Seeing what Turner can add to this Bulls team isn’t difficult, but seeing where he fits in is.
Color me absolutely baffled if the Chicago Bulls part ways with Nikola Vucevic. Not only did the front office build this current roster with him in mind, but he’s thrived at times in his third-scoring role. Turner does have plenty of experience playing with a fellow big man in Domantas Sabonis, and the door remains open for him to slide into the power forward spot, but we still have to wonder whether Chicago would get the most out of him at this position. More importantly, we have to wonder whether the Bulls would even consider paying the Pacers’ asking price.
Chicago isn’t in a position to part ways with two first-round picks. They could potentially satisfy Indiana by putting the Portland first-rounder AND someone like Patrick Williams on the table, but is that something they really want to do? And would they do that with more traditional power forwards like Jerami Grant and Harrison Barnes reportedly on the market? I doubt it.
My best guess is that Turner heads somewhere looking for an upgrade at the five, but let’s just hope that somewhere isn’t in the Eastern Conference. One of the better rim-protectors available, I really wouldn’t want to see him come playoff time.
We talked more about monitoring the competition in the post below:
The NBA trade deadline is officially less than one month away, and the Bulls have gone from the chaser to the chased.
Super curious to see how this FO handles a deadline where they're near the top, especially if other teams start to close the gap.https://t.co/KN2fM0MlAr
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 11, 2022