The Los Angeles Lakers can no longer trade for a $17 million star big man.
Indiana Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan said on September 21st that Myles Turner will be the team’s starting center on opening night, officially ending the potential Lakers trade talks.
The Lakers have tried to acquire Turner a few times this summer. Bob Kravitz and Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on July 22nd that a trade package that would have seen the Lakers trade Russell Westbrook and a first-rounder to the Pacers in return for Turner and shooting guard Buddy Hield didn’t gain traction since Indiana asked Los Angeles to include a second first-round pick.
According to a July 9th report from Heavy’s Sean Deveney, the Lakers “have long held an interest in Turner,” who will make $17.5 million next season in the final year of his contract. The Texas product signed a four-year, $80 million rookie extension with the Pacers in October 2018.
Turner Was Open to Getting Traded to the Lakers
Turner was open to getting traded to the Lakers, who missed the playoffs last season despite having LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Westbrook. Deveney cited a source who spoke about Turner in his July 9th column.
“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 while shooting 48.9% from the field, 34.9% from beyond the arc and 76.8% from the free-throw line. He appeared in only 42 games for the Pacers last season because of a left foot stress reaction. The two-time blocks champion has recovered from his injury this summer.
What’s Next for the Lakers?
With Turner off the trade block, the Lakers must turn their attention to Hield, Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson and Bojan Bogdanovic. Los Angeles has to trade Westbrook since he wasn’t a good fit next to James and Davis last season.
According to a September 2nd report from Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY Sports, the Lakers “have some interest” in Conley, Bogdanovic and Clarkson. The Utah Jazz are in rebuild mode after trading Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves and Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tony Jones of The Athletic reported on September 2nd that Utah is engaged in trade conversations around Bogdanovic, Conley and Clarkson.
Hield has been heavily linked to the Lakers for the past few seasons. Los Angeles nearly acquired the sharpshooter from the Sacramento Kings last offseason. However, the franchise chose to trade for Westbrook from the Washington Wizards instead.
The Lakers, who replaced Frank Vogel with Darvin Ham, have been trying to trade Westbrook all offseason. The one-time MVP shot only 29.8% from beyond the arc last season. Westbrook was also second in the NBA in turnovers.
Los Angeles needs more shooters around James and Davis. The team ranked 22nd in the NBA in 3-point shooting in 2021-22, hitting only 34.7% of its team attempts. Hield, Conley, Clarkson and Bogdanovic can all shoot the ball from deep, so Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka should find a way to acquire at least two of them.