Pacers reward defensive anchor Myles Turner with two-year, $58million extension

Getty Images

Myles Turner has decided against becoming an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season after signing a two-year, $58million extension with the Indiana Pacers on Saturday.

Turner, 26, was playing in the final year of his four-year, $80m rookie extension, and he will now add two more years at essentially the same salary ($20.9m next season, $19.9m in 2024-25).

The Pacers were able to secure Turner on two more relatively affordable seasons after deciding to capitalise on their extra cap space this campaign. His new deal includes a $17.1m increase on his salary for the current season – increasing it from $18m to $35.1m – which is the largest re-negotiation bump in league history.

It indicates a surprising change of heart for Turner, who had been open about his desire to leave via trade or free agency, but has instead found himself flourishing with a career-best season on a Pacers team seemingly already finished with their rebuild.

Turner previously shared how he was unhappy with his role as a supporting piece while All-Star Domantas Sabonis patrolled the interior – often spending entire offensive possessions standing in the corner spacing the floor.

However, with Sabonis being shipped to the Sacramento Kings this past season in exchange for point guard and rising star Tyrese Haliburton, Turner has found himself in a featured role, and he has taken full advantage.

The six-foot-11 defensive anchor has always been an elite shot-blocker, sitting top-five in blocks per game (2.4) for the seventh consecutive campaign after leading the league in the 2018-19, 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons.

But it is his offense that has taken the biggest leap with Sabonis out of the picture, posting career-highs across the board.

Turner is averaging career-highs in field goal makes (6.3) and attempts (11.6), three-point makes (1.6), three-point percentage (39.1), free throw makes (3.3) and attempts (4.3), rebounds (7.9) and points (17.5).

He has played in 42 of a possible 51 games this season, and is looking like he has turned the corner physically after only managing 42 appearances in the entirety of this past season and 47 games in 2020-21.

The Pacers are 24-27, sitting ninth in the Eastern Conference, although they are only 1-9 since Haliburton suffered an injury against the New York Knicks on January 11, having not played since.