Fact or fiction? Taking stock of the Myles Turner trade rumors amid Celtics offseason options

(Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

Myles Turner has been seemingly tied to the Boston Celtics in some form ever since he declared for the NBA Draft in 2015. The Celtics were rumored to be interested in trading up for the big man back in 2015 (they had the 16th overall pick) but Turner ended up going to the Pacers at No. 11.

Additional trade buzz started swirling against around a Turner trade in the last couple of seasons as the Pacers dealt with a logjam of talent at the center spot with Turner and Domantas Sabonis. It is a big frontline that hasn’t exactly fit well together for today’s NBA, so Turner’s name has been thrown around constantly for teams that could use a traditional ‘big man’ such as Boston.

That brings up to the present where it seems evident that Turner is on the trade block for an Indiana team that is looking to shake things up potentially after their second straight first-round sweep out of the postseason. Buzz has grown this week on social media as one unconfirmed report states that the Celtics have had discussions surrounding a Hayward for Turner framework of a deal. This all comes on the heels of the Celtics’ rumored interest in Jrue Holiday.

From a three-team standpoint, the pieces make a little bit of sense from afar on a potential Turner/Hayward/Holiday swap. The Pacers get to bring home the hometown boy in Hayward, the Pelicans get a lottery pick from Boston, and the Celtics land a couple of win-now upgrades in Holiday and Turner. More players would need to be added from Indiana and Boston’s side to make the salary matching work but this has been a popular trade proposal suggestion in recent days amid the rumblings.

However, I can safely say that Myles Turner and Jrue Holiday will not be heading to Boston together (barring more major roster upheaval for Boston) for a very big but simple reason: Money.

The finances for next year (2020-21) would not be a problem for Boston on this front with adding that duo with Jayson Tatum still on his rookie deal ($9.8 million). After that? The roster gets insanely expensive for the Celtics starting with the 2021-22 season. Take a look at these potential salary commitments if Holiday and Turner were both added to the roster with the team’s current core.

2021-22 payroll commitments

Kemba Walker: $36 million (2 years left)
Jayson Tatum: $33 million (estimated 5-year deal)
Jrue Holiday: $27 million (player option, expiring)
Jaylen Brown: $24 million (3 years left)
Myles Turner: $18 million (2 years left)
Marcus Smart: $14.3 million (expiring)

Total: $150 million committed to six players

That cap sheet would put the Celtics in pole position to have the most expensive roster in the NBA with next-to-no flexibility. The luxury tax line for next year is expected to land somewhere around $140 million according to early estimates so the Celtics would