The trade deadline is literally in a month, and given the fact that the Los Angeles Lakers have had extremely disappointing results thus far given their preseason expectations, they figure to be an active team leading up to the February 10th deadline. They’ve already been reported to be “pursuing” the Detroit Pistons’ Jerami Grant while the aspect of trading Russell Westbrook has even been discussed although it seems the Lakers haven’t got any bites on that hook. They’re now being connected to another player that is set to be made available to teams, as The Athletic’s Shams Charania has reported that the Lakers have “a level of interest” in trading for the Pacers’ Myles Turner.
The Mavericks and Knicks are expressing interest in trading for Turner, sources said. The Lakers and Hornets have had a level of interest in Turner as well, sources added.
The Lakers are not the only team entertaining the thoughts of trading for Turner, and when interpreting Charania’s wording, it appears the Mavericks and Knicks seem to be much more invested in acquiring the big man when compared to the Lakers or Hornets.
The idea of the trade is interesting, as it would seem to address the problems around the center position this season for the Lakers. That position in the starting lineup has seen just as many players as the other positions within the lineup despite the fact that the players who have occupied it — Anthony Davis, DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Howard, and LeBron James — have all been fully healthy up until Davis’ MCL sprain recently. Head coach Frank Vogel and the team just haven’t found the best fit for the starting center to make everyone around it be the best players they can be, with the most successful use being the most recent one in LeBron as the team has almost strictly reverted to a “small-ball” style of play.
Myles Turner has averaged 13.1 points and 7.3 rebounds this season including a 35.7 3-point field goal percentage on 4.4 attempts per game. Above all else, the Lakers may be trying to attain him for his size and defensive ability as he has twice ended a season as the league’s leader in blocks while being the current leader with 2.9 per game.
Turner makes $17.5 million this year on his salary, which means a trade for him would almost certainly have to involve Talen Horton-Tucker ($9.5 million) and Kendrick Nunn ($5 million) in addition to one or two veteran minimum guys (Hello, Kent Bazemore and DeAndre Jordan). The Lakers don’t have a first-round pick to trade until one in the 2027 NBA Draft.
The move would indicate that the Lakers are not fully bought in on carry this small-ball style into the playoffs, instead opting for a bigger team as they were during the 2020 championship run. And this time, they’d have (by far) the best big man they’ve been able to pair Anthony Davis with.
We’ll see how this all develops, as the Lakers can only trade for one of Myles Turner or Jerami Grant. There’s no guarantee they can get either of them, but if they had the chance at both, they’d have to decide who was the bigger need and fit.