Published on: November 1, 2022, 11:15 am.
Last updated: November 1, 2022, 11:15 a.m.
Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner has openly lobbied the Los Angeles Lakers to secure his services in a trade during a guest stint. Woj Bridge with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Lakers and Pacers have been involved in on-and-off trade talks involving Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook, which would also include Turner and Pacers guard Buddy Hield.
Both teams have reached an impasse over a potential trade for Westbrook, as the Lakers are reluctant to include a pair of first-round picks.
Other teams like the Brooklyn Nets and Utah Jazz have shown interest in Westbrook, but each trade offer has been rejected by general manager Rob Pelinka because he doesn’t want to give up first-round picks in the 2027 and 2029 drafts. The Lakers, potentially, they do not own the rights to the next three first-rounders they gave up to acquire Anthony Davis in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Lakers started the season 0-5. They were the last winless team to win a game this season before beating the Denver Nuggets in Los Angeles on Sunday. The Lakers are in last place in the Pacific Division. Only the Houston Rockets (1-7) have the worst record in the Western Conference.
The Pacers (3-5) are in fourth place in the Central Division and currently sit in 11th place in the Eastern Conference. They started the season 1-4, but have won two of their last three games.
Turner wants out of Indy
Over the past two seasons, Turner has asked the Pacers to trade him. Even though the Pacers held talks with other teams, including the Lakers and New York Knicks, they never pulled the trigger on a trade.
Turner appeared on Woj Bridge yesterday and was not shy about his desire to join the Lakers and increase his skills.
If it’s the Lakers, I’m looking at it very well with the position you’re in,” Turner said. “I know what I can give to a team. My driving, my blocking, my 3-point ability and just my ability to play the court.”
Turner was aware of the Lakers’ reluctance to give up coveted future first-round picks.
“We all know picks are so valuable in this league,” Turner added. “Someone like me, I’m heading into the last year of my contract and you want to make sure you’re getting a return on your assets.”
Turner missed the first week of the season with a sprained ankle. Through three games this season, he is averaging 13.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.
The Pacers selected Turner with the 11th pick in the 2015 NBA draft. He became a starter midway through his rookie season and has been the starting center ever since. He is a career 35% shooter, which is impressive for a big man.
Lakers Thin at center
New head coach Darvin Ham joined the Los Angeles Lakers in the offseason and hinted at two major changes that would be difficult for two stars to handle. He wanted Westbrook to take on the sixth man role as the first player off the bench. However, Davis’ move from power forward to center — or from the No. 4 spot to the No. 5 spot on the floor — hasn’t garnered the same amount of media hype as Westbrook’s demotion.
Davis prefers to play the 4 spot, but the Lakers lack a true center. With limited options, it made sense to move Davis to the traditional 5 spot.
The Lakers’ success this season will be directly tied to Davis’ health. A healthy Davis helped LeBron James and the Lakers win a title in the 2020 NBA Finals. However, Davis has missed more than 50% of regular season games over the past two seasons. The Lakers were eliminated from the first round of the 2021 NBA playoffs with an injured Davis. They also failed to qualify for the Play-In tournament last season, with an injury-plagued Davis missing 42 games.
Davis sat out a few preseason games with back pain to keep him out for the regular season. He missed a game last week with a back injury, and he is currently listed as day-to-day on the injury report. Through five games this season, Davis is averaging 23.8 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.
Davis would benefit from a Turner trade, returning to his preferred power forward role, with Turner sliding into the center spot. A front line with LeBron James, Davis and Turner looks great on paper. With a potential backcourt of Hield and Dennis Schroder, and the Lakers could finally have a starting five that could match the top teams in the stacked Western Conference.