Evaluating the Contract Extension That the Pacers Gave Myles Turner

Indiana Pacers, Myles Turner, NBA, Victor Oladipo, Pelicans
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers and Myles Turner came to an agreement on a contract extension before the 6:00 p.m. deadline on Monday.

The overview of the deal was a total of up to $80 million for four years with $72 million being guaranteed. The remaining $8 million can be earned through meeting criteria for incentives.

According to ESPN front office insider Bobby Marks, it is ‘unlikely’ that Turner will earn the contract bonuses and the year-to-year earnings for Turner are flat.

While I haven’t seen the incentives and it makes it difficult for me to determine if they are ‘unlikely’ as Marks perceives, Turner should earn $18 million per season if he fails to earn the bonuses.

It seems that many are surprised by the amount of money that Turner earned in his deal, which is actually common for every single player that gets a new deal it seems.

While Turner is still going to earn the same $3.4 million that he was before the extension since it doesn’t begin until 2019-20, it’s interesting to see where his future yearly earnings stack up with the NBA’s 2018-19 salaries.

Based on the $18 million figure, Turner would rank only 60th in the league in salary for the 2019-20 season. He would be just below Kent Bazemore and right above Evan Turner.

Comparing his earnings to the 2019-20 season can be a bit challenging since the 2019 free agency class has yet to be paid.

More factors include; A few players that could decline their player options and take less money for a long-term deal, some players could even be waived since they have a lot of non-guaranteed money, and some team options could be declined.

With all of that context taken into consideration, Turner would rank as tied with George Hill for the 58th highest paid player for the 2019-20 season.

The comparison remains very favorable for the Pacers even when looking at the 2020-21 season before two full offseasons take place.

Turner would still only be ranked as only the 35th highest paid player in the league in 2020-21, and he would slide down the list significantly after many players sign new contracts.

The Pacers are getting good value for a modern big man who just turned 22-years-old in March. Regardless of if he takes a leap towards stardom or not, he is still only earning $3.4 million this season and is already a key contributor anyway.

If Turner is able to play at an All-Star level, then the deal becomes a real bargain for the Pacers. I just don’t think that he absolutely has to play at that level this year but noticeable progression is necessary.

As far as the 2019 offseason is concerned, as Marks noted, the Pacers sacrificed around $8 million in cap space to get a deal done with Turner before the summer but they prevented the risk of another team giving him a massive offer.

Now, the Pacers and Turner are able to play the 2018-19 season without the distraction that would have come if the two sides did not come to an agreement on an extension.

The Pacers are set to be around $47 million for next summer in projected salary cap space if they were to renounce their salary cap holds. To be clear, it’s unlikely that they would renounce all of them.

Indiana has the following players hitting unrestricted free agency next summer; Bojan Bogdanovic, Cory Joseph, Darren Collison, Kyle O’Quinn, Thaddeus Young, and Tyreke Evans.

It is unlikely that the Pacers would be unable to land top free agents like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, or Jimmy Butler, but there is a tier below that they could pursue.

Players like Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tobias Harris, or Terry Rozier that the Pacers could try to pursue. Those aren’t all of the names but it’s enough to show that there are real options out there.

The Pacers are bringing back Turner for good value but it turns to great value if he takes the next step. They have two core players in Victor Oladipo and Turner under contract for likely a combined bargain of $39 million per season through the 2020-21 season.