Lakers Could Make Run at $80 Million Player, Says NBA Exec: Exclusive

Lakers GM Rob Pelinka

Getty Lakers GM Rob Pelinka

With LeBron James signing a contract extension, the attention for the Los Angeles Lakers is turning to the 2023 offseason when the team is projected to have more than $30 million in cap space, per Spotrac. During a conversation with Heavy.com’s NBA insider Sean Deveney, one Western Conference executive identified Pacers center Myles Turner as a potential free agent target for the Lakers next offseason.

“Myles Turner, he will be right in their price range and he has wanted to be there,” the exec explained. “They have tried to get to him for a couple of years, so he’s a possibility. It’s just a matter of how many years he wants. He’s still young (26) so he would be an interesting fit. But it’s one reason they don’t want to give up two picks in a deal for him — they can sign him next summer.”

Turner is heading into the final season of his current four-year, $80 million contract. It will be interesting to see if Turner can land a similar deal in free agency. The Pacers big man averaged 12.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.8 blocks while shooting 33.3% from long range during his 42 starts last season.

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Could the Lakers Trade for Turner This Season?

The NBA exec was discussing Turner as a potential Lakers target for next offseason, but there is still a chance general manager Rob Pelinka could make a trade for the big man. Los Angeles has been linked to trade rumors with the Pacers centered around Turner, Buddy Hield and Russell Westbrook. According to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, the Pacers continue to push for the Lakers to include two first-round picks (2027, 2029) in exchange for taking Westbrook’s $47 million salary.

“It seems like the best trade the Lakers can make if they want to move Russell Westbrook and try to win this season is with Indiana for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield,” Scotto detailed on August 30. “One note that’s interesting is before the Lakers traded Talen Horton-Tucker to Utah in the Patrick Beverley trade, the Pacers were trying to get Horton-Tucker, I’m told. Essentially, Indiana was hoping to get Westbrook’s expiring contract, the Lakers’ two first-round picks in 2027 and 2029, along with Horton-Tucker for Turner, Hield and they wanted to make LA take Daniel Theis, who has some years looking ahead on his contract.”


Will the Lakers Look to Make a Big Splash in 2023?

With James committed to the team for the long-term, the Lakers could look to be aggressive during the next free agency window. This approach could change if the Lakers are able to pull off a blockbuster trade in 2022, something that looks increasingly unlikely.

“They could have some money to spend, the question is whether they want to spend it now (2023) or wait to see what they can get the following year,” the NBA front office person remarked. “It all might be a moot point anyway if they go and make a trade tomorrow and send out those picks, and bring back a Kyrie Irving or someone because you’d only do that if you are planning to pay him. But if they keep their space, then a lot of the guys they have been after for the last year are going to come free and they probably will be in position to get one.”

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