Pros and cons of Raptors trading for Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - NOVEMBER 26: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors handles the ball while being guarded by Domantas Sabonis #11 of the Indiana Pacers (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - NOVEMBER 26: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors handles the ball while being guarded by Domantas Sabonis #11 of the Indiana Pacers (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors will likely pursue every avenue to improve their frontcourt depth at the trade deadline, as they have been losing some games due to their poor play on the glass. The Indiana Pacers may have just dropped a huge holiday present right in Masai Ujiri’s lap due to their desire to potentially move Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis.

While Turner is one of the best defensive centers and shot-blockers in the game, Sabonis has developed into a game-changer on the offensive end capable of being an All-Star and primary scorer. However, with Rick Carlisle failing to keep Indiana in the playoff hunt, it appears as though the front office is eyeing a fire sale.

Shams Charania reported that the Pacers are moving towards a full-on rebuild. To kick-start that climb back to the top, Indiana is willing to part with both Turner and Sabonis in addition to Caris LeVert.

The Raptors might be out of the playoff picture at the moment, but adding a player like Turner or Sabonis could change the scope and construction of the roster. While Masai Ujiri could be tempted to get Indiana on the phone and pull off a deal, getting one of these two could prove to be very difficult.

What are the benefits of this trade, and what are the drawbacks?

Toronto Raptors: Pros and cons of getting Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis.


Turner would be ideal for the Raptors. Even the most basic examination of Raptors film shows that they need a center that can protect the rim and an ace rebounder. Those two traits just happen to be what Turner is best at.

If turner continues at his current pace, he will have led the league in blocked shots per game three times in four years. Under contract in 2022, Turner could help institute a complete defensive turnaround in the paint.

Sabonis might not have the defensive chops of Turner, but he’s averaged a double-double in each of the last three seasons while making at least 53% of his shots in every season. Sabonis is averaging 19.1 points, 12.2 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game in his last five seasons.

A lineup that kicks Gary Trent Jr. to the bench and leans on Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, and either Turner or Sabonis at the same time would be frightening.


The Raptors may need to get a third team involved, as they lack the assets to acquire one of them. Goran Dragic won’t appeal to Indiana, and outside of doing something completely unforeseen and shortsighted like trading Trent, giving the Pacers adequate value may prove to be difficult.

Toronto may also need to attach multiple premium draft picks to their package to get this deal done. While Toronto may expect to be a playoff team next year, completely emptying their reserve of draft picks for a player like Turner or Sabonis would be risky.

Let’s focus on Sabonis specifically. Yes, he would be a quality scorer and rebounder the second he arrives, but he is an inferior defender when compared to Turner. Toronto could be in for some tough offensive nights in critical games as he and his hefty salary integrate into the rotation.


The Raptors should consider making an offer for Turner, but they should steer clear of Sabonis. While Sabonis may be the better player right now, Turner is both a better fit for this roster and a player that can be acquired without giving Indiana an arm and leg to secure his services.

Ujiri should only pull the trigger on this deal if he is sure that Toronto intends to contend for a high seed in the East next year, as he would need to gut his trove of draft picks to acquire him.

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