The Lakers have reportedly inquired about a trade for Turner previously but could pull the trigger this offseason as they look to shore up a position that was a bit of a mystery last season. The report comes via J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star, who also listed Charlotte as a possible destination.
Charlotte has been interested Turner, who they passed on drafting in 2015 to take Frank Kaminsky instead, and there are others such as the Knicks and L.A. Lakers have made their interest in the 6-11 shot-blocker known for more than a year.
Turner started 47 games for the Pacers last season, averaging 12.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and a league-high 3.4 blocks per game. Adding him to a lineup that already includes LeBron James and Anthony Davis would allow the Lakers to possibly improve on their already stingy defense.
The problem would be Turner’s massive salary, which is $18 million over the next two seasons. Kyle Kuzma’s three-year, $40 million extension would make him a prime bargaining chip in the deal, both as a younger player to build around and salary-wise.
Lakers Center Situation Was Messy Down the Stretch
The defending champs started the year with what seemed like an upgrade at the position with the acquisitions of Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell and former Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol.
However, the addition of Andre Drummond from the buyout market muddied the rotation as the team struggled to maintain consistency.
Gasol has one year left on his deal, although the Lakers could choose to go another direction Spaniard, who will turn 37 next season.
“I’m very thankful for the year that I lived,” Gasol said. “Obviously, it doesn’t end the way we all want it, but it’s been better than it looked from the outside probably for me personally. Enjoyed some of the things that happened and some of things I didn’t. Try to be positive and like I said, I’m thankful for the opportunity that I had here.”
Harrell has a player option but was vague on a possible return as well.
Lakers Would Like Andre Drummond Back
LA has been clear that they see Drummond as a member of the team going forward, despite the two-time All-Star being a free agent.
“Dre was great for us,” Vogel said during his exit interview. “Let me start by saying that. We’re hopeful that he’s a Laker for a long time. He played well for us, and was a good culture fit. He fit in well with the guys and was very well-liked. We just … We said it all along: We were concerned about how much time we would have to build the cohesion necessary for the playoffs, and with AD being out and Bron really only getting two games with Drum before the playoffs began, we just didn’t have that time to build the cohesiveness that we wanted.”
Drummond hasn’t committed one way or the other just yet, but playing alongside Davis and James is a draw for any player.