$80 Million Lakers Trade Target Suffers Unfortunate Setback: Report

Lakers GM Rob Pelinka and head coach Darvin Ham

Getty Lakers GM Rob Pelinka and head coach Darvin Ham

An $80 million Los Angeles Lakers trade target has suffered an unfortunate setback.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner is expected to miss at least one week after suffering an ankle sprain. The Texas product landed on a ball boy’s foot during pregame warmups on October 19th.

According to an October 3rd report from Charania, Sam Amick and Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the Lakers seriously considered sending Russell Westbrook and unprotected first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 to the Pacers for Turner and Buddy Hield before training camp started. Los Angeles and Indiana are expected to discuss that trade again during the season.

Turner, who will make $17.5 million this season, appeared in only 42 games in 2021-22 due to a stress fracture in his left foot. He averaged 12.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.8 blocks while shooting 50.9% from the field, 33.3% from beyond the arc and 75.2% from the free-throw line.

Turner Open to Getting Traded to the Lakers

According to a July 9th report from Heavy.com insider Sean Deveney, the Lakers “have long held an interest in Turner,” who signed a four-year, $80 million rookie extension with the Pacers in October 2018. The big man was open to getting traded to Los Angeles over the summer.

“Turner, for his part, has been open to a trade out of Indiana going back two years, and he was expecting to be dealt at last season’s deadline instead of Sabonis,” Deveney reported. “A source with knowledge of the situation told Heavy.com, ‘Of course he would be open to a trade to the Lakers.’”

Turner has career averages of 12.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 2.3 blocks with the Pacers while shooting 48.9% from the floor, 34.9% from deep and 76.8% from the free-throw line. He’s a two-time blocks champion and the ideal center to pair alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

When Turner leaves the paint and goes to the perimeter to shoot, he brings his defender with him, creating more driving lanes for his teammates. James and Davis need a big guy who does that since the Lakers are one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the league.

On opening night against the Golden State Warriors, the purple and gold shot only 25.0% as a team from beyond the arc. The Warriors packed the paint versus the Lakers, preventing James and Davis from attacking the rim and scoring easy baskets.

Michael Wilbon Thinks the Lakers Should Make the Pacers Trade ASAP

On October 4th’s episode of “Pardon The Interruption,” ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said the Lakers should send Westbrook and two future draft picks to the Pacers for Hield and Turner. The veteran journalist strongly stated, “Do the damn deal.”

“Hield and Turner, they make the Lakers a bigger threat now,” Wilbon said. “It allows Anthony Davis to sort of have less pressure on him, which I believe is necessary. And when Anthony Davis is out there with Turner and Hield and LeBron, now you’ve got something. You’ve got a threat of a team. So do the damn deal. Don’t tell me about the picks in 2027 and 2029. They’re not Oklahoma City.”

The Lakers, who missed the playoffs last season despite having James, Davis, Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard, are unlikely to make a major trade before Thanksgiving, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Most pundits believe Westbrook, who is in the final year of his contract, will be moved before the 2023 trade deadline, which is in February.

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