Lakers in Blockbuster Trade Talks to Land 2 New Starters: Report

Lakers stars LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook

Getty Lakers stars LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook

The Los Angeles Lakers are searching for trades beyond a potential Kyrie Irving deal as talks with the Brooklyn Nets remain at a standstill. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported that the Lakers have “reengaged” in trade talks with the Pacers as a response to little progress being made on an Irving deal.

A smaller trade, he said, would focus on swapping Talen Horton-Tucker for Buddy Hield, but the Lakers could also include Russell Westbrook in an attempt to land both the sharpshooting Hield and big man Myles Turner.

“Behind the scenes, Lakers general manager and president of pro basketball personnel Rob Pelinka has been making phone calls to teams about trying to trade Russell Westbrook out of town,” McMenamin said during an appearance on the July 20 episode of “NBA Today.” “Now, the latest intelligence I have is that things have not moved in terms of the Brooklyn front. There is no traction on a deal that would involve sending Russell Westbrook out and bringing Kyrie Irving in.

“One thing I have learned over the last day or two tangentially [is] that there has been some talks reengaged between the Lakers and the Indiana Pacers. Now, that would center around a Buddy Hield deal and could be a deal that would include Russell Westbrook if you’re talking about also having Myles Turner in that deal,” McMenamin said. “Or perhaps, it could be a secondary move where you would be talking about a Talen Horton-Tucker type of package to try to get Buddy Hield. So, we could see whether that would affect Russell or not.”

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Turner Open to a Possible Lakers Move

Trading for Hield and Turner would represent a longer-term financial commitment from the Lakers than it would Westbrook, whose deal expires in 2023. Hield still has two seasons remaining on his four-year, $94 million contract and is slated to have a $20.5 million salary in 2022-23. Like Westbrook, Turner’s deal expires after the 2022-23 season.

The Pacers center has a $17.5 million salary for this upcoming season as part of his four-year, $80 million contract. NBA insider Sean Deveney reported that Turner was “open” to landing with the Lakers.

“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 [Domantas] Sabonis,” Deveney wrote on July 9. “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, LA is in much better position to get both him and Hield.”

The Lakers Nearly Traded for Hield During the 2021 Offseason

Trading for Hield would give the Lakers a do-over on a would-be deal with the Kings last offseason that was close to the finish line before Los Angeles pivoted to land Westbrook. Hield averaged 15.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists while shooting 36.6% from long range during the 2021-22 season. The guard is a career 39.8% 3-point shooter and would fill a massive need for the Lakers.

Turner averaged 12.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.8 blocks while shooting 33.3% from behind the arc. Acquiring the big man would allow Anthony Davis to play more at his preferred position of power forward.

The Lakers’ preference appears to be landing Irving, but this proposed Pacers deal would be a solid backup option. Securing Hield and Turner would give the Lakers two valuable starters while moving on from Westbrook. The Lakers might also need to include future draft picks in order for the Pacers to be willing to take on Westbrook’s salary.