In a January 11 article titled “B/R Staff Roundtable: What Should Lakers Do at the 2023 Trade Deadline?” Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey proposed that the Los Angeles Lakers make a blockbuster trade with the Indiana Pacers.
Bailey wrote that the Lakers should trade Russell Westbrook, a 2027 first-round pick and a 2029 first-round pick to the Pacers for big man Myles Turner and shooting guard Buddy Hield.
“For L.A., assuming (Anthony) Davis can stay healthy (a significant risk, for sure), Hield and Turner feel like borderline perfect additions to a lineup with him and LeBron (James). They’re not stars, but there’s already enough star power in the top two,” Bailey wrote. “The Lakers won a title by surrounding their marquee duo with defense, shooting and players who were willing to accept defined roles. Both Turner and Hield provide floor spacing. In Hield’s case, that’s true in historic fashion. He’s second all-time in career threes made per game. And of course, Turner is one of the game’s best shot blockers. Plus, he’d move AD to the 4 (at least in the starting lineup), which is where he started games for the title-winning 2019-20 team.”
Jovan Buha, Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic reported in October that the Lakers almost traded Westbrook and unprotected first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 to the Pacers for Turner and Hield before training camp started. The trade didn’t happen since Los Angeles president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka determined that giving up two future draft picks was too steep of a price to pay to acquire Hield and Turner.
Bailey: The Lakers Need to Make a Trade Since LeBron James Is Still an Elite Player
Bailey believes the Lakers need to acquire Hield and Turner since LeBron James is still playing like a superstar despite being 38. James is averaging 29.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.7 assists this season. The four-time MVP is eighth in the NBA in points per game and 12th in assists per game.
“But LeBron is still playing at an All-NBA level at age 38. He made a commitment to the team by signing an extension this summer,” Bailey wrote. “He doesn’t have many more chances to win a title in front of him, and the Lakers need to reciprocate.”
Hield and Turner would bring unique skill sets to the Lakers. The former is one of the top shooters in NBA history, while the latter is an elite rebounder and shot-blocker. Hield is averaging 18.3 points this season while shooting 42.7% from beyond the arc. He leads the NBA with 165 3-pointers. Turner, meanwhile, is averaging 17.0 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks.
Hield is making $20.5 million this season. He will have accumulated more than $103 million in his career when his contract ends following the 2023-24 season. The sharpshooter signed a four-year, $94 million deal with the Sacramento Kings in October 2019.
Turner, meanwhile, is owed $17.5 million this season. He will have earned more than $82 million in his career once this season ends. The talented center becomes an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He signed a four-year, $80 million contract with the Pacers in October 2018.
Buddy Hield & Myles Turner Look Like ‘Perfect Fits’ for the Lakers
Westbrook isn’t a good fit for the Lakers since he’s not a reliable perimeter shooter. The one-time MVP is shooting just 28.5% from deep this season. Westbrook is also a turnover machine, as he’s sixth in the league in turnovers.
Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report reported on November 10 that it’s not “universally believed internally” within the Lakers organization that Hield and Turner would move the needle to title contention. That reasoning needs to change since Hield and Turner are “perfect fits” in Los Angeles, according to Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley.
“While Hield and Turner aren’t stars, they both look like perfect fits for this roster,” Buckley wrote on November 22. “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.”