Myles Turner is enjoying a career year, and the Lakers need to protect themselves against a potential deal of the talented forward
The Los Angeles Lakers have resisted Myles Turner, a center for the Indiana Pacers, for a long time. They have now been linked to Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal, and many others, but despite Indiana’s persistent offer of two unprotected first-round selections in exchange for Turner and Buddy Hield, they have refused to make the trade. Even though it has been widely reported that they want to wait for a star, Turner has already performed like one after just a month of basketball.
Turner has flourished since he was given the starting center position all to himself at Indiana, where he had previously shared it for years with Domantas Sabonis. In his first seven years with the Pacers, he never reached a 15-point-per-game average. He now has a season scoring average of 17.9, which is higher than any other season in his career. Turner’s 3.1 blocks per game lead the NBA and are a career best. His 8.7 rebounds per game are also a career high. The 65.6 true shooting percentage he just shot was also a lifetime high for him. Turner is perhaps enjoying his finest season ever in terms of scoring, defense, and boards.
The Lakers would benefit greatly from having these qualities. They rank last in the NBA in shooting percentage, with just Max Christie and Matt Ryan shooting better than Turner’s 37% from deep. When compared to the rest of the NBA, they rank 28th in points allowed per 100 possessions (116.3), and they concede the 26th-fewest rebounds per game (26th), indicating a dire need for a big man. Despite his lack of All-Star experience, Turner seems to be a perfect match for the Lakers. This is something he is well aware of. On a recent episode of “The Woj Pod,” he practically advertised himself in the Los Angeles area.
Turner stated, “If I’m the Lakers, I take a very hard look at this given the situation that you are in, and I know I can bring to a club my leadership, my shot blocking, my 3-point ability, and just my ability to create plays out on the court.” “I would give it a lot of thought.”
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Turner has a firm grasp on the business side of basketball. His current deal is about to end. The Pacers are in the midst of a rebuild, and Isaiah Jackson, a promising rookie center, is seeing more playing time. They are unlikely to be the club to sign him to a long-term deal this summer. The Lakers have been considered the most viable option for a while now. But the longer Turner keeps playing like this, the more likely it is that someone will come along and steal him. Already, he’s being connected to their enemies in the rumor mill.
After losing Isaiah Hartenstein to free agency, the Clippers have been forced to play with a smaller roster than usual, so it makes sense that they would be interested in Turner, as reported by Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report on Tuesday. Both the Nets and the Pelicans have been mentioned as possible destinations for Turner in the past, and both teams seem like good fits on paper.
Turner might shore up the defense behind unusual non-shooters like Ben Simmons and Zion Williamson by giving the space they need. This idea has broad applicability and might work for any group. There isn’t anybody who wouldn’t want a defensive dynamo in the middle who can also hit 3-pointers.
The Lakers, but time is running out for a change of heart. However, it doesn’t mean the Pacers are in any hurry to complete a trade. Given the high value of the Lakers’ draft selections, they would likely favor a deal with them. In December, LeBron James will be 38 years old. If you trade for first-round choices in 2027 and 2029, you’ll have them when James is in his mid-40s and presumably retired.
It’s possible that other clubs have more draft picks to give, but the Lakers’ picks are the ones with the highest projected draft position (except, ironically, the Lakers picks already owned by the Pelicans). If given the option, Indiana would likely prefer to trade Turner to the Los Angeles Lakers.
However, they can’t hold out indefinitely. After all, Turner has a history of injuries, and the longer they keep him, the higher the chance becomes that they won’t be able to trade him at all. If he continues performing like this, he’ll get plenty of attention from other teams. The Lakers can’t increase their bid if another team comes in with a higher one. Currently, they have two legally transferable draft selections. The only question is whether or not they provide them.
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No, they haven’t done that yet. This may never happen. However, Turner’s incredible year suggests that the Pacers won’t have any trouble finding a replacement. As time ticks away, the Lakers risk missing out on a potential opportunity if they don’t act quickly.