A botched 2020 trade would have changed the Boston Celtics' entire landscape

The Myles Turner trade that never was could have sent massive ripple effects that would have drastically altered the Celtics' makeup.
Boston Celtics v Indiana Pacers - Game Three
Boston Celtics v Indiana Pacers - Game Three / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
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What-ifs are pointless, but man, it is hard not to wonder about what the hypothetical results could have been when one watches the actual results. With their rich history, the Boston Celtics have had plenty of what-ifs over the years, but among the most recent ones to think about is what if they had traded for Myles Turner back in 2020?

For context, back in 2020, the Celtics were at a standoff with the Indiana Pacers. Gordon Hayward had opted out of his contract in the hopes of getting his next big payday and was interested in playing for his hometown team in Indiana. A feeling that was mutual between the two sides.

Despite the two sides sharing interest in each other, the Pacers did not have the cap space to add Hayward straight-up and needed to do a sign-and-trade with the Celtics to get him on the team. However, the Celtics were reluctant to give him up, knowing both his value and that the Pacers were among their best competition in the East at the time.

The best asset the Pacers were willing to give up was Myles Turner, which, in the Celtics' opinion, was not enough. The Boston Globe's Gary Washburn gave the full details of what each side wanted.

(In 2024, that's a layup for the Pacers. Back in 2020, that was absurd.)

The Pacers' leverage was the Celtics couldn't risk losing Hayward for nothing. The Celtics' leverage was that the Pacers had to give up someone who made good money to get Hayward. Boston also preferred to keep Hayward on the team, which factored into their reluctance to part with him.

In the end, Hayward was sick of waiting and signed with the Hornets instead. The Pacers didn't get their guy, and the Celtics wound up with a $28 million trade exception. The rest is history from there.

What's done is done, and that's that. While it never happened, trading for Turner would have caused a butterfly effect that may have made all the difference between the Celtics making two of the last three NBA Finals and being mired in questions. Let's start with the basics.