Shams Charania of The Athletic reported (paid subscription required) that both the New Orleans Pelicans and Charlotte Hornets have shown interest in Turner. If the report is coming from Charania, it’s almost certain that it’s true.
This news is nothing new. It has been clear that the Hornets have been interested in Turner for a while now. However, the fact that Shams is reporting on it means that it could be fresh. Charlotte could be working on a deal to bring Turner to the city as soon as this offseason. Most believe that the Hornets are targeting center options in free agency, but trading for Turner would allow them to spend their money elsewhere.
The Pacers are in a very weird spot as a franchise at the moment. They just fired Nate Bjorkgren after one year and subsequently hired Rick Carlisle - one of the most respected coaches in the NBA. Despite this, their roster doesn’t seem to have the talent of a championship-level team.
Indiana won the first game of the play-in last season (a tough loss to remember for Hornets fans), just to get beaten by the Wizards in the second game. It was the first time they missed the playoffs in six years.
There have been tons of trade rumors surrounding Indiana dating all the way back to the trade deadline. Some believed the likes of Malcolm Brogdon, TJ Warren, and even Domantas Sabonis could be available. While none of them ended up being dealt, the rumors still loom large as the offseason gets underway. The biggest concern the Hornets should keep track of is the idea that Sabonis and Turner don’t fit well together.
If the Pacers believe they should be running Sabonis at the five, Turner would quickly end up on the chopping block. In that scenario, the Hornets would come knocking right away. They have the assets and the will to get a deal done this summer.
The biggest question to ask in that scenario is what the Pacers are looking to get back in return. Do they want to compete right away? Or is their goal to add young pieces so they can build up a great future in Indiana? Based on their track record, option one seems all the more likely.
In that case, the Hornets could look to part ways with some of their older players. The only issue is that “older” in Charlotte means around 23-27 years old. This is the case unless they want to give up on Gordon Hayward just one year into his massive four-year contract.
A trade revolving around a Hayward for Turner swap could end up being ideal for Charlotte. The Pacers would likely be willing to throw in depth pieces alongside Turner in order to get that deal done. Jeremy Lamb or Justin Holiday would be the most attainable filler targets at that point. This way they could hand the keys to Miles Bridges at the three and have a super young starting five.
However, if Charlotte wants to hold on to Hayward, they would be looking at trading away someone such as Terry Rozier of PJ Washington. Once again, it all depends on what sort of direction the Pacers are trying to take their team.
Regardless, a Turner trade is something that has been talked about for what seems like forever. A report from Shams just makes it seem like it could be on the horizon. Only time will tell.