The Los Angeles Lakers have been urged to pursue a trade for a $103 million shooting guard and $82 million center.
In a November 22 article called “3 Trade Targets for Lakers to Consider Before Rumor Mill Picks Up,” Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley said the Lakers should trade Russell Westbrook and draft picks to the Indiana Pacers for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner.
“While Hield and Turner aren’t stars, they both look like perfect fits for this roster,” Buckley wrote. “The former ranks favorably among the league’s very best shooters, and the latter scratches itches for paint protection and floor spacing. In a single swap, the Lakers could give their offense more breathing room and their defense more insurance.”
The Lakers and Pacers have discussed this trade several times. Los Angeles doesn’t want to part ways with its draft picks to acquire Hield and Turner, which is why the deal hasn’t been completed.
According to an October 3 report from Sam Amick, Shams Charania and Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the Lakers seriously considered sending Westbrook and unprotected first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 to the Pacers for Turner and Hield before training camp started.
Not Everyone on the Lakers Believes in Turner & Hield
Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report reported on November 10 it’s not “universally believed internally” within the Lakers organization that a trade for Turner and Hield would move the needle to title contention. The purple and gold have the second-worst record in the Western Conference at 5-11.
“With the team’s trajectory trending south, sources indicate the front office is unlikely to attach those picks to a potential trade out of concern that such a transaction would not significantly change the course of the season,” Haynes reported. “It is not universally believed internally that a trade for Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner and sharpshooter Buddy Hield would move the needle to title contention, sources say.”
Hield is averaging 17.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists this season while shooting 38.4% from beyond the arc. The sharpshooter is making $20.5 million and will have earned more than $103 million in NBA money when his contract ends following the 2023-24 season. Hield signed a four-year, $94 million deal with the Sacramento Kings in October 2019.
Turner, who is a two-time blocks champion, is putting up 17.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 3.0 blocks per game while shooting 53.0% overall and 36.4% from 3-point range. The Texas native is due $17.5 million this season and will have accumulated more than $82 million in his career once the 2022-23 campaign ends. Turner becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season. He signed a four-year, $80 million contract with the Pacers in October 2018.
Core Lakers Players Want a Trade to Happen
LeBron James and the core players on the Lakers want general manager Rob Pelinka to trade the team’s first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 to upgrade the roster this season, per Haynes. Los Angeles has the second-worst offensive rating in the NBA at 107.3.
“Lacking young, enticing assets and draft capital to strengthen the roster, the Lakers are only armed with two first-round picks in 2027 and 2029, respectively. James, who turns 38 next month and is in Year 20 of his NBA career, does not want to waste a season of his high-level playing days in hopes of incoming reinforcements for the 2023-24 campaign, sources say. Other core players on the roster would likewise prefer those picks to be used to elevate this year’s team,” Haynes reported. “That’s the burdensome decision Pelinka now faces.”
James signed a two-year, $97.1 million extension in August that includes a player option for the 2024-25 season, showing a level of commitment to the Lakers when he didn’t have to. Pelinka told reporters during media day in September that he would do everything in his control to make the roster better around James, but he has yet to do that.