Lakers Locker Room Makes Final Decision on if They Want a Trade to Happen: Report

Lakers stars Anthony Davis, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook

Getty Lakers stars Anthony Davis, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook

Leaders on the Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly made a final decision on if they want the front office to make a trade.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN reported on November 28 there is belief shared by leaders in the Lakers’ locker room that the team is only a couple of players away from turning this group into a legitimate contender. Los Angeles is 7-11 on the season, three games out of the final play-in spot in the Western Conference.

“There is belief shared by leaders in the Lakers’ locker room, sources said, that the team is only a couple of players away from turning this group into a legitimate contender,” McMenamin reported. “But acquiring the right players could take multiple trades.”

Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka decided that giving up the team’s 2027 and 2029 first-round picks was too steep a price to pay to acquire Myles Turner and Buddy Hield from the Indiana Pacers before training camp started, per McMenamin. The proposed trade, which involved Turner and Hield going to the Lakers and Russell Westbrook and draft picks going to the Pacers, fell apart when Los Angeles backed away.


Other Reasons Why Lakers Didn’t Make Pacers Trade

There were several reasons why the Lakers didn’t make the Pacers trade, per McMenamin. Los Angeles’ front office will get a good look at Turner and Hield on November 28, as the Lakers host the Pacers at Crypto.com Arena.

“Let’s start with Turner’s availability. He has played in only 89 out of 154 of Indiana’s games the past two seasons because of foot and ankle injuries — hardly reliable insurance should (Anthony) Davis get hit by injuries, as he has the past two seasons,” McMenamin reported. “There are other questions the Lakers’ front office considered when evaluating the trade before training camp, sources said, that left L.A. reluctant to go all-in. Questions such as: Would either Turner or Hield be clear-cut members of L.A.’s closing lineup in a playoff game? Would Turner be able to stay on the court if the opponent went small? Would Hield bring enough defensively, or would Ham trust in a wing like Austin Reaves or Troy Brown Jr. more in that spot?

“And, recalling the franchise’s trades for free-agent-to-be Dwight Howard in 2012 and Dennis Schroder in 2020, is it worth risking what could be valuable future draft capital to acquire Turner for what could amount to only a few months in Los Angeles if he walks the way Howard and Schroder did?”

Hield is averaging 17.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists this season while shooting 37.4% from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Turner is averaging 18.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 2.6 blocks. The big man becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season. He signed a four-year, $80 million contract with the Pacers in October 2018.


Bleacher Report Thinks Lakers Should Acquire Hield & Turner

In a November 22 column called “3 Trade Targets for Lakers to Consider Before Rumor Mill Picks Up,” Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley said the Lakers should trade Westbrook and draft picks to the Pacers for Hield and 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.”

Four-time MVP LeBron 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 power to make the roster better around James — one of the greatest players in NBA history — but he has yet to do that.

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