Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner was the recent guest on “The Woj Pod” with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Turner makes it clear that he believes the Los Angeles Lakers, who have been rumored to be interested in acquiring him, should trade their draft picks to do just that, because he knows what he brings to the table.
“If I’m the Lakers, I take a very hard look at this with the position that you’re in,” said Turner. “I know what I can provide for a team. My leadership, my shot blocking, my three-point ability. My ability to make plays out on the floor. I’d take a very long look at it. As far as pulling the trigger? That’s uh…I get paid to shoot, not to make these calls.”
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 31, 2022
The Lakers control their 2025, 2026 and 2027 first-round picks. The years 2023 and 2024 are controlled by the New Orleans Pelicans, as a part of the Anthony Davis trade.
If the Lakers want to do their best and maximize their window this season for a title, they should definitely trade for Turner and his Pacers teammate Buddy Hield. It would provide them the shooting they desperately need. Turner is shooting 37 percent this season in limited action and Hield is a career 39 percent shooter from deep.
If the Lakers pull that trade off and don’t win the title this season, they will have no ability via the draft to acquire young talent, on their terms, until 2027, as Turner would demand two-firsts.
The Lakers have never been about the draft. Instead, the team has chosen to bet that the bright lights and glitz of Hollywood would attract marquee free agents. It’s a strategy that has largely served them well.
The problem is, that strategy is feast or famine.
When things are rolling, they compete for titles. When they aren’t, they are bottom feeders. After winning the title in 2010, the Lakers made the playoffs three times in nine seasons. They finished with a sub .500 record in the six non-playoff seasons.
Potentially acquiring Turner and Hield will improve the Lakers for sure, but there are no guarantees. Not to mention, LeBron James is in the last year of his contract. While Anthony Davis is under contract for potentially three more seasons, he is often injured and not someone the Lakers can guarantee to build around.
Meanwhile, the Pacers might want to consider trading either or both. It’s clear they are in rebuild mode. But it looks like they already have their backcourt of the future with Tyrese Haliburton and rookie Bennedict Mathurin. This team is young and will be competitive, but they will probably lose a lot of games this season. There is a generational talent available in the 2023 draft.
Imagine if the Pacers extend Turner, they’ve got Haliburton and Mathurin and somehow they get the number one pick in the draft and secure Victor Wembenyama? That’s a solid core. Turner has proven he can play alongside another big (Domantas Sabonis), and this lineup would have plenty of spacing.
We are putting the cart before the horse. Turner will likely play more games for the Pacers this year and this group might prove to be competitive by the quarter mark of the season.
Either way, Turner deserves the opportunity to use his skill set for a team that wants it. If that’s the Pacers great. If the Lakers want him and are willing to pay a price the Pacers can’t refuse, that’s great too.