The biggest question revolving around the Indiana Pacers this season, outside of when Victor Oladipo will make his return from a quadriceps injury, is how the two young standouts in the team’s frontcourt will mesh. Indiana is banking on Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis to figure out a way to play at the same time, giving them a promising young 1-2 punch at power forward and center.
But as it turns out, half of that combination may not be long for Indiana. According to a report by Sam Amick of The Athletic, talks regarding a contract extension between the Pacers and Sabonis have not gone particularly well, and as such, the team is in conversations with other squads regarding a trade.
Via The Athletic:
With Domantas Sabonis and the Indiana Pacers far apart in discussions about a possible contract extension, and with a deal looking unlikely as the Monday night deadline looms, sources say the Pacers have engaged in active trade talks with several teams this week about the fourth-year forward. Sabonis, the 23-year-old who arrived with Victor Oladipo in late June 2017 in the Paul George trade with Oklahoma City, is clearly on the market.
Sabonis is still on his rookie deal, and as Amick notes, the team has until Monday to strike an extension with the former Gonzaga standout. In the event this does not happen, he would become a restricted free agent this summer. While Indiana could match any deal he signs then, they just signed Turner to a four-year, $72 million extension and spent a good chunk of change this past summer rounding out their roster. Add in the presence of rookie big man Goga Bitadze and the fact that Oladipo is going to command a ton of money with his free agency looming in 2021, and it’s unsurprising that someone would get squeezed out.
Amick reports that the Pacers’ asking price has been too high in talks with other teams, and it will be fascinating to watch if that continues to be the case in the event this drags on. Sabonis is talented and only 23, so even if they want a bit too much right now, Indiana should be able to get a nice haul in return for him if they opt to go that route.