Myles Turner Lobbies for a Trade to the LA Lakers
Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner openly lobbied the Los Angeles Lakers to secure his services in a trade, he revealed during a guest stint on “The Woj Pod” with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Lakers and Pacers have been involved in on-and-off trade talks involving Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook, a deal which would also include Turner and guard Buddy Hield from the Pacers.
The teams reached an impasse on a potential trade for Westbrook because the Lakers are reluctant to include a pair of first-round draft picks.
Other teams like the Brooklyn Nets and Utah Jazz showed interest in Westbrook. But every trade offer was 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 don’t own the rights to their next three first-rounders, which they gave up acquiring Anthony Davis in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Lakers started the season 0-5. They were the last winless team this season before they beat the Denver Nuggets in Los Angeles on Sunday. The Lakers occupy last place in the Pacific Division. Only the Houston Rockets (1-7) have a worse record in the Western Conference.
The Pacers (3-5) are in fourth place in the Central Division, and currently rank #11 in the Eastern Conference. They started the season 1-4, but won two out of their last three games.
Turner Wants Out of Indy
During the last two seasons, Turner asked the Pacers to trade him. Even though the Pacers held discussions with other teams, including the Lakers and the New York Knicks, they never pulled the trigger on a trade.
Turner appeared on “The Woj Pod” on Monday and wasn’t shy about his desire to join the Lakers while hyping up his abilities.
If I’m the Lakers, I take a very hard look at this with the position that you’re in,” Turner said. “I know what I can provide for a team. My leadership, my shot-blocking, my 3-point ability and just my ability to make plays out there on the floor.”
Turner was cognizant of the Lakers’ reluctance to give up coveted future first-round picks.
“We all know picks are so valuable in this league,” added Turner. “Someone like myself, I’m heading into the last year of my deal and you want to make sure you’re getting a return for your assets.”
Turner missed the first week of the season with a sprained ankle. In three games this season, he averages 13.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.
The Pacers selected Turner with the #11 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. He became a starter midway through his rookie season and has been the starting center ever since. He’s a career 35% 3-point shooter, which is impressive for a big man.
Lakers Thin at Center
New head coach Darvin Ham joined the Lakers in the off-season and hinted at two major changes that would be tough for two stars to stomach. He wanted Westbrook to become the sixth man as the first player off the bench. He also wanted to move Davis from power forward to center — or from the #4 spot to the #5 spot on the floor. That change didn’t garner the same amount of media hype as the Westbrook 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.
Success for the Lakers this season will be directly linked to Davis’ health. A healthy Davis helped LeBron James and the Lakers win a title in the 2020 NBA Finals. However, Davis missed more than 50% of regular-season games over the previous two seasons. The Lakers were knocked out of 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-riddled Davis missing 42 games.
Davis sat out a couple of preseason games with back soreness to preserve him for the regular season. He missed one game last week with a back injury, and he’s currently listed as day-to-day on the injury report. In five games this season, Davis averaged 23.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game.
Davis would benefit from a Turner trade by returning to his preferred role at power forward, with Turner sliding into the center spot. A front line with LeBron James, Davis, and Turner looks great on paper. With a potential backcourt consisting of Hield and Dennis Schroder, the Lakers could finally have a starting five that could match up with the premier teams in the stacked Western Conference.