I’ve heard of NBA players getting together and talking in the off-season about joining teams, but never commenting on a potential trade they are involved in on a podcast during the season. Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner has heard the same trade scenario we have. He and Pacers guard Buddy Hield would go to the Los Angeles Lakers for guard Russell Westbrook and the Lakers’ two remaining first-round picks in 2027 and 2029.
Instead, the Lakers were hesitant even to include those. While Turner didn’t explicitly say he would be a part of the trade package, he sold his talents on The Woj Pod.
“If I’m the Lakers, I take a very hard look at this with the position that you are in, and I know I can provide to a team my leadership, my shot blocking, my 3-point ability and just my ability to make plays out there on the floor. I would take a very long look at it,” Turner said. “But as far as pulling the trigger, I get paid to shoot, not make these calls, so I couldn’t answer that.”
The whole basketball world was combing through the NBA tampering rules to see if this was a violation. Before commissioner Adam Silver gets called, Turner clarified his comments in an interview with HoopsHype.
“I understand that some of the things I might’ve said in that podcast could’ve gotten misconstrued answering hypothetical questions. This isn’t hypothetical. I’m here in Indiana,” Turner told HoopsHype. “I’ve got real estate in Indiana. I’ve got a fan section in our own arena. I’m a Pacer. I’ve been a Pacer my entire career. I can’t tell the future, but where I’m at right now, I’m very happy.”
Let’s be fair; Turner isn’t lying when he said the Lakers should retake a look at this trade. Lakers center Anthony Davis hates playing at the center position and is already dealing with injuries six games in. Adding Turner would allow Davis to go back to the forward position while having a stable presence in the paint. It would also potentially add Hield’s three-point shooting, with the Lakers desperately need (they are currently ranked last in the league).
Then there’s the Russell Westbrook issue which seems to have a temporary stop-gap with him coming off the bench. Who knows how long that will work for? As compelling as Turner’s argument is, there’s also cause for hesitation. Turner is on an expiring contract, and it’s unclear whether he would sign an extension with the Lakers. Also, would the addition of Turner and Hield better the Lakers’ chances of making a deep run in the playoffs? Maybe not.
So, you have a Lakers team caught between making a run in Lebron James’s twilight year or mortgaging what’s left of their future. Whatever the case, the Lakers are about to go through a brutal part of their schedule with games against the Pelicans, the Cavs, and two games against the “we should be tanking, but we’re good” Jazz teams.