There has been no more discussed yet unconsummated trade this year than Myles Turner and Buddy Hield to the Lakers for Russell Westbrook and two lightly-to-non-protected first-round picks (2027 and 2029). While the shot-blocking and 3-point shooting Turner, as well as the sharpshooting Hield, fit the Lakers’ needs, the team has not pulled the trigger, saying they are only willing to give up both picks for a deal that moves them into contender status (as if such a trade exists).
Turner says the Lakers should revisit their thinking.
He appeared and The Woj Pod with Adrian Wojnarowski and had this to say about the trade.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 31, 2022
“If I’m the Lakers, I take a very hard look at this with the position that you’re in. I know what I can provide for a team.”
Turner and Wojnarowski recorded that podcast when the Lakers were 0-5. Los Angeles has never been in a rush to make a deal, preferring to wait 20 games or so — around Thanksgiving — to see both where they stand and what new potential trades could shake loose. The slow start put pressure on that plan, but with Westbrook scoring 18 points off the bench in the first Lakers win, they seem comfortable for now riding this out and seeing where things stand in a few weeks.
Turner — one of the more underrated big men in the league — seemed open to the challenge of playing in the Los Angeles spotlight with LeBron James.
“Just playing in the bigger market, I just feel like here in the Midwest we don’t get the love that I think we deserve. It doesn’t get taken on the national level. You are under the microscope out there at the West, when you are doing bad you going to hear about it. When you are doing great you are going to get a lot of love, especially with the love that the Lakers get. I think that another aspect that is playing with greatness and playing under LeBron, I feel like he demands a certain level of excellency, especially at this point of his career. It’s just one of those things, when you are out there, you gotta perform.”
Despite Turner’s wishes, it’s hard to imagine the Lakers’ front office swallowing their pride and pulling off the trade with Indiana now. If they were going to do make the move, they would have this offseason. Now, it’s likely too little, too late, on top of admitting their mistake.
Although it’s tough to imagine a better trade in terms of fit for the Lakers. Turner gets that.