Proposed Trade Lands Lakers $80 Million Center & $94 Million Shooter for Russell Westbrook

Lakers' Talen Horton-Tucker and Russell Westbrook

Getty Lakers' Talen Horton-Tucker and Russell Westbrook

Most experts believe the Los Angeles Lakers need to move on from Russell Westbrook before the 2022-23 season starts. The one-time MVP struggled last season, finishing second in the league in turnovers and posting an effective field goal percentage of 47.6%, which was sixth-worst in the NBA.

Westbrook picked up his $47.1 million player option with the Lakers for next season. However, Los Angeles is still interested in trading the nine-time All-Star. The franchise has recently spoken to the Brooklyn Nets and Indiana Pacers about a Westbrook trade, according to a July 9 report from ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, and Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley has a trade idea involving the Pacers.

In a July 14 column, Buckley proposed that the Lakers trade Westbrook, Talen Horton-Tucker and two future first-round picks to the Pacers for Myles Turner, Buddy Hield and T.J. McConnell.

“While the Lakers wouldn’t leave this exchange with a third star, they would have a deeper roster with fewer injury worries than Irving would bring,” Buckley wrote. “Turner could bulk up the frontcourt with paint protection and spot-up shooting, Hield would add a high-volume long-range threat, and McConnell could carve his niche as the bench’s offensive organizer and defensive energizer.”

Turner Open to Getting Traded to Lakers

According to a July 9 report from Heavy’s Sean Deveney, Turner “would be open” to a trade to the Lakers, who missed the playoffs last season despite having LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Westbrook.

“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, ‘Of course he would be open to a trade to the Lakers.’

“The Lakers have long held an interest in Turner, but have lacked the assets to acquire him. With Indiana seeking to retool the roster and send away veterans for draft picks, though, L.A. is in much better position to get both him and Hield. Turner is in the final year of his contract at $17.5 million, and Hield has two years remaining, at $20.5 million this year and $18.5 million next year.”

Turner is a two-time blocks champion. He 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. The big man will make $17.5 million next season in the final year of his contract. The 26-year-old Texas product signed a four-year, $80 million deal with the Pacers in October 2018.

Hield Has Always Been Linked to Lakers; McConnell Would Be Solid Addition

According to a June 29 report from Matt Moore of the Action Network, the Lakers have “circled back” to Hield as a player of interest. Los Angeles nearly acquired Hield from the Sacramento Kings last offseason. However, the organization chose to trade for Westbrook from the Washington Wizards instead.

Hield is one of the greatest shooters in NBA history. He’s 50th all-time in made 3-pointers (1,417) and has never shot below 36.0% from beyond the arc in a season. The 29-year-old Oklahoma product has career averages of 15.9 points and 4.3 rebounds in 468 regular-season games with the New Orleans Pelicans, Kings and Pacers while shooting 39.8% from 3-point range.

McConnell isn’t a household name. However, he would be a solid addition to the Lakers, who need fierce players who can play defense. McConnell averages 1.3 steals for his career and doesn’t turn the ball over frequently, averaging only 1.6 turnovers with the Philadelphia 76ers and Pacers.

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