I was invited by James Plowright of At The Hive to participate in a mock trade series and joined in happily! While a trade is entirely unlikely to happen at the moment, I found it to be a very compelling thought exercise in looking at how a front office may tackle trade deals and roster building.
I’ll have a poll down at the bottom to get your feedback and I’ll also explain my rationale. I hope you enjoy!
In this SB Nation “Mock Trade article series At The Hive writer James Plowright will be conducting various trade negotiations with writers from other SB Nation sites in an effort to solve Charlotte’s big man problem via trade. Mark Schindler (Indy Cornrows) plays the role of General Manager for the Indiana Pacers as James enquires about a potential Myles Turner trade.
JP Firstly thanks a lot for agreeing to play the role of Pacers GM in this exercise Mark. I’m going to cut straight to the point, the Charlotte Hornets need a centre to fit in with their core, there aren’t many available options which fit the timeline for this young Hornets team. It appears the entire NBA knows Myles Turner was available this off-season and that Boston turned down the opportunity to acquire him in a potential Hayward Sign & Trade. As acting Charlotte Hornets GM this peaked my interest, I know a deal is unlikely to take place before the deadline as NBA teams are in love with their rosters right now before the losses have started piling up. However, it’s never too early to start having some preliminary trade talks, as I started the negotiations I’ll let you know what is on/off the table from Charlotte’s point of view.
Firmly on the table
2nd Round Picks
Hiding under the table
Vernon Carey Jr
Off the Table
1st Round Picks
What are the current needs for this Pacers roster going forward?
MS Thanks a ton for having me James. I can promise you that Myles Turner was also very aware of his availability this off-season as well. I would certainly go out on a limb to say that the claims on Myles’ value after calling around the league being low felt like an attempt by the Boston front office to do a bit of PR recovery, but that’s just my thoughts. Myles is a tremendous player, the fit is just wonky.
If the Pacers are going to part with Myles, it’s for a player who can either allow T.J. Warren to slide up to the 4, or a player who can play the 4 himself. Indy’s roster is full of combo guards, small wings, and centers; bring on the forwards. The Pacers are also relatively thin on athleticism so that will be on the radar as well.
I’ll admit, Charlotte is one of my fascinations. I watched 20ish games of the Hornets last season and keep tabs on the games I can’t watch; I like what the Hornets are doing. They were a very fun team last year and certainly more watchable than their record implied. I agree with your assessments of the roster and I think it largely makes sense how you have things tiered. If Charlotte were to move a 1st or one of their core players at this stage, it’d be pretty puzzling. As a PJ Washington fan, I’m a little hurt that there isn’t an avenue for him to come to the Pacers via trade, but I digress.
JP It certainly wouldn’t be the first time Boston have leaked news following a failed trade to try and save face, Danny Ainge certainly has a reputation for that. A very valid point to make, in that case trying to agree a deal for Turner could be more difficult than previously thought, I won’t give up just yet though.
Straight off the bat I was going to start discussing something based around Rozier & Turner thinking he could give the Pacers a 6th man and some needed outside shooting to surround Sabonis. However, following what you’ve said before I guess we should start with Miles Bridges, as he fits the bill as someone with athleticism and can play both the three and four. Obviously the money doesn’t work straight up with Miles still being on his rookie scale ($4 per year) contract and Turner in the middle of a contract extension ($18 per year). Would Bridges peak your interest?
I couldn’t help but also notice that Indiana’s CAP sheet is looking pretty full going forward, do you think there is any motivation for Indiana to make some flexibility down the line by dumping some longer term money E.G. Jeremy Lamb?
MS The cap sheet is getting dicey. Part of the nature of not having a traditional superstar is having to pay a lot of really good players what they’re worth. That stacks up awfully quickly. Plus, with T.J. Warren’s deal up in 2022 and an extension off his current deal pretty unlikely (He can only receive a 125% extension of his current contract which would be 4/60, he’s worth quite a bit more than that) money is of note. I think flexibility will be a thought, but bringing in talent is still chief in our discussions.
We went all these miles just to trade Myles for Miles.....I’ll see myself out.
I’m intrigued by Miles Bridges. He screams small ball four to me, as his handle and passing are still pretty iffy for a 3. The defense is definitely a work in progress from him from what I’ve seen, but the tools are there. Seeing as he’s a little unpolished for a team trying to win now, the Pacers would certainly be looking for something to improve the deal. However, Indy is most likely not looking for a center in return. Goga Bitadze has solid potential, he needs the chance to show that. Bringing in a center warranted backup minutes is not something the Pacers are likely to do. I’m a huge fan of Jalen McDaniels, he’s a nice young prospect, but probably more of a project than Bridges. It’s not a must to make the trade happen, but he brings some nice things to the table that make a deal more likely.
JP Your reluctance to take a centre back in the trade makes me think you know where I’m going with this already but what the hell I might as well try it... How does a hero’s return for Indiana native Cody Zeller sound? Zeller expires this off-season, so would certainly give you some CAP flexibility going forward, Indiana would also retain his bird rights so could re-sign him despite being over the CAP and without using any exceptions. If you pair Zeller ($15) and Bridges ($4) together it puts Charlotte perfectly in the range to match salaries for Turner ($18), is this still not enough to get it done?
MS Hahahha you caught me. In fairness, Cody is a good player! I think he’s a much better all-around player than the general fan gives him credit for, he’s just been bitten by injuries and small-market shadow throughout his career. I think we’re close. McDaniels is a no go?
JP It’s obvious you have actually watched Hornets basketball, you are correct, McDaniels showed some real promise down the stretch last year and contributed to this team finding part of it’s defensive identity.
MS I’m in 100% on that package
JP Then it looks as though we have a deal!
It’s interesting that it came down to how both of us valued McDaniels, I certainly didn’t expect him to be the swing guy in a Myles Turner trade! I do wonder now if I should have asked for the Utah 2021 2nd instead before the Milwaukee one, I had assumed that you wouldn’t consider that but was I wrong? (Make me feel better about it and say no)
MS I would have been willing to part with the Utah 2nd. I think they’re going to be very good this year so a lower pick, but also I just am that high on Jalen.
I bet that some will look at this trade from my end and say that I should’ve held out for more or just not gone for the trade. Myles was 5th in DPOY in 18-19 and he’s got a a rare skillset. But, the amount of teams that had players they’d be willing to part with that are starter level has declined after this off-season.
Getting Bridges and McDaniels gives the Pacers the athleticism boost, flexibility and depth, and a chance to develop two players with upside, that’s more than worth it to me. Myles is the best player in this trade, but Paul George was the best player in that trade a few years ago. We’ll see what happens (theoretically).
JP I guess that’s why I wouldn’t make a good GM, always ask for the better asset first.
From a Charlotte point of view this could also be unpopular, giving up three rotation players for one guy coming off a down year is a risk. Charlotte has also been focussing on being a versatile team with multiple ball handlers and switch ability, Turner is the antithesis of these focus points as mostly a drop big who is in just the 15th percentile in Assist % per Cleaning the Glass.
However, part of me does wonder if Charlotte is preaching about versatility due to the makeup of their current roster, not because it’s what they actually want to do long term. Let us not forget the team were reportedly extremely high on Wiseman in the 2020 draft and he holds some similar weaknesses as Turner.
Well thanks so much for taking part in the first article of this series, I wish Indiana the best of luck for the upcoming season.
MS Thanks for having me James! Best of luck to the Hornets as well, I’ll certainly have my eye on them.
First, thank you again to James of course for having me. I really enjoyed this. I obviously am not advocating for a Myles trade, but it’s been on the horizon enough that I thought it would be worth putting this out there for you all to see.
The only thing I’d do differently about this trade is send back end of roster players to Charlotte. I was doing a few things at the same time yesterday while responding to James and didn’t really think about having an overloaded roster until four hours post-trade.
Miles Bridges as I mentioned with James, is stuck between the 3 and 4 spots due to where his handle and offensive feel are at currently. He’s not a great spacer (33% from three on 4 a game last year), he’s a subpar passer (registered in the 26th percentile in playmaking talent per B-Ball Index), was below league average in true shooting (52.1%).
So why make the trade? Bridges was a second year player with elite athleticism thrust into a role that is pretty clearly not ideal for him, at least at this point. He was asked to do quite a bit on-ball this year due to a lack of creation in Charlotte outside Devonte’ Graham. If given the chance to grow in a more ideal setting, I think Bridges could thrive and turn into a very good role player. With Indy, he’d move into a role that doesn’t ask much of him other than to hone in on defense, rebound, shoot open threes, and work on expanding his game from there.
Jalen McDaniels is even more raw than Bridges as a player, but has flahsed some great skill and ability. In his rookie year, he shot above league average from three, albeit on low volume, but is also a plus free throw shooter, indicating that the shot wasn’t just luck and at least that he has the touch to grow as a shooter. At 6’10 and with a seven-foot wingspan cupled with plus athleticism, McDaniels can grow into a more than capable defender, and has already made an impact on that end.
Checkout this defensive range from Jalen McDaniels. Damn. pic.twitter.com/D5fJcZFP9Q— Spencer Percy (@QCHspencer) February 29, 2020
Hello Jalen McDaniels length on a guard. This kid has big time defensive impact potential on the wing. (and leads to 3rd Devonte’ charge taken of the game) pic.twitter.com/dc3KF7amAw— Spencer Percy (@QCHspencer) February 11, 2020
He is certainly an unpolished offensive prospect, but I think he’s got great upside. In 278 minutes (small sample size) the Hornets allowed 3.3 pp/100 less with McDaniels on-court and were overall 6.3 pp/100 better when he played.
As I mentioned at the end of our negotiations, this trade is not perfect or clear cut; Myles is 100% the best player in this trade. That being said, the Pacers could end up with two players who end up making more sense with the current roster while improving the overall team athleticism and giving the player development staff a chance to mold two prospects into the Pacers core.
How Would You Grade The Trade?
This poll is closed
I like it
I don’t like it