As Michigan knows all the too well, Evan Turner isn’t a stranger when it comes to buzzer beaters.
But on Thursday, the 2010 college basketball national player of the year and former Ohio State star was a part of a different type of last second shot, when a trade sending Turner from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Indiana Pacers was submitted to the NBA league office in the final moments before the annual trade deadline. Per Yahoo! Sports, Turner and forward Lavoy Allen were dealt to Indiana in exchange for former all-star Danny Granger.
In moving from Philadelphia to Indiana, Turner goes from one of the worst, to the first place team in his conference.
The 76ers and Pacers clearly have different goals this season, with the former in full-on tank mode -- Philadelphia also traded center Spencer Hawes to the Cleveland Cavaliers today -- and the latter contending for a championship. Thursday’s trade could ultimately be considered a win-win-win situation for the two teams and Turner, with each bettering their respective situations in both the short and longer terms.
In ridding themselves of Turner, the Sixers are parting ways with their leading scorer, which is actually in line with what Philadelphia is attempting to accomplish. Without a franchise player on their roster, the 76ers would be best served losing as many games as possible and acquiring a higher draft pick in the offseason -- and trading Turner will likely go a long way in accomplishing just that.
Acquiring a player like Turner -- the second overall pick of the 2010 draft who is averaging 17.4 points per game in his third season -- could also prove to be beneficial for the Pacers, who at 41-13 lay claim to the best record in the Eastern Conference. With the likes of Paul George, Lance Stephenson, Roy Hibbert and David West already on the Indiana roster, Turner will no longer be burdened with being his team’s best offensive weapon, which could potentially create less pressure and different types of opportunities for the Chicago native.
Moreover, while Turner has had an up and down career since entering the professional ranks, he has found success against the Miami Heat, with a career shooting percentage of 50.7 percent in games against the two-time defending NBA champions. In the Pacers’ quest to dethrone the Heat atop the East, the 6-7, 216-pound Turner could serve as a key weapon for Indiana, adding versatility and depth to an already talented roster.
As for Turner himself, Thursday’s trade will for better or worse prove to be a pivotal point in what has been perceived by some to be a disappointing professional career.
Aside from what could be a much needed change of scenery, Turner’s relocation means that he’ll be participating in this year’s playoffs, rather than watching from home, as he would've in Philadelphia. The added exposure could also prove to be crucial for Turner, who is slated to be a restricted free agent this upcoming offseason after the Sixers declined to extend his initial rookie contract.
Of course, how Thursday’s borderline blockbuster will workout for all parties involved remains to be seen. But there stands plenty of reason to believe that it could ultimately be a positive move for Philadelphia, Indiana and Turner himself, even if all three have different destinations in mind.