For months, we have been hearing about discussions between the Lakers and the Pacers on a potential trade that would send Myles Turner and Buddy Hield to L.A., while Russell Westbrook and the Lakers 2027 and 2029 first round picks would go back to Indiana.
The hold up has always been Indiana’s insistence on getting both of the Lakers’ future firsts, which L.A. has not wanted to give up to this point even as the Westbrook situation has grown more and more contentious. An ankle injury prior to the opener sidelined Turner for the first week of the season, further putting things on the backburner, but he is back in the Indiana lineup and through two games has let his two-way abilities shine.
The Pacers are clearly thinking about the future, with Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin as the centerpieces of their rebuild, but they also know the value of Turner’s combination of shooting and shot-blocking, along with Hield’s value as an elite shooter. As such, they seem fine holding out until the Lakers (or some other team) grow desperate enough to part with picks for both. The Lakers are insistent on waiting 20 games or so before re-engaging on any trade talks, trying to evaluate their team (which is off to a 1-5 start) and where it needs the most help (or whether there’s even enough help out there to be had).
While we likely won’t hear of rekindled talks for a few weeks, that didn’t stop Turner from going on The Woj Pod this week and being as direct as I can remember any player being about trade rumors, as he effectively made the case for why the Lakers should “take a very long look” at pulling the trigger on the trade.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 31, 2022
“It’s such an intriguing question,” Turner says. “I think personally when you look at this business of the league and look at the landscape of the league, you have to go off your future — we all know picks are so valuable in this league — and someone like myself, I’m going into the last year of my deal and you want to make sure you’re getting a return for your assets. If I’m the Lakers, I take a very hard look at this with the position that you’re in. I know what I can provide a team — my leadership, my shot-blocking, my three-point ability, and just my ability to make plays out there on the floor. And I’d take a very long look at it, but as far as pulling the trigger, I get paid to shoot not to make these calls so I can’t answer that.”
It’s not often that a player will engage in discussions about trade rumors at all, much less talk about whether another team should give up multiple future firsts for them in a deal. On the other hand, you don’t often have a trade rumor that lingers for four months and it’s hard to blame Turner for making the case to end up in L.A., where he’d at minimum get considerably more attention going into a contract year.
We’ll see if the Lakers heed his advice and eventually view he and Hield as the ones that can take them to the next level, but it’s certainly a valiant effort from Turner to sell the Lakers on it being a good idea.