NBA

'If I'm the Lakers, I take a very hard look at this' – Pacers center Turner makes his case for Lakers trade

By Sports Desk November 01, 2022

Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner took his opportunity on the podcast of ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski to lay out the case for why the Los Angeles Lakers should trade for him.

Turner, 26, led the NBA in blocked shots per game in the 2018-19, 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons. His career average of 2.29 blocks per game is second among all active players, trailing only Lakers star Anthony Davis (2.34).

Of all the players to average at least two blocks per game across the past two seasons, only Memphis Grizzlies big-man Jaren Jackson Jr has also averaged at least one made three-pointer per game.

His unique combination of shot blocking and shooting at a relatively young age has made him an intriguing trade chip for the Pacers, who are well-and-truly in the middle of a total rebuild, led by young point guard Tyrese Haliburton.

There were reports in the offseason about a potential trade between the Lakers and Pacers that would have seen Russell Westbrook and the Lakers' first round draft picks in 2027 and 2029 sent to the Pacers for Turner and shooter Buddy Hield.

Speaking on the Woj Pod, Turner, who is in the last year of his contract, said he believes it is a deal the Pacers should revisit.

"Coming into a contract year as well, you can’t lose me for [nothing]," he said. 

"[The Pacers] can’t have the notion of me playing out this year, they don’t trade me, and it’s like 'okay, say free agency comes around and I don’t re-sign here'. Let’s just be real – that’s just bad on the organisation.

"If they do trade me, and they do get assets for me coming along, they’re doing what’s best for them and doing what they’re paid to do. There’s no hard feelings with that."

He then laid out his case for why he believes he would be a strong fit, and be more appreciated with the Lakers.

"I know what I can provide for a team," he said. "My leadership, my shot-blocking, my three-point ability and just my ability to make plays out there on the floor.

"If I'm the Lakers, I take a very hard look at this with the position that you're in… but as far as pulling the trigger, I get paid to shoot. I'm not paid to make these calls, so I couldn't answer that.

"I just feel like here in the Midwest we don't get the love that I think we deserve... it doesn't get taken in on the national level.

"You are under the microscope out there in the West. When you are doing bad, you're 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 [appealing 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 got to perform.

"People are going to expect you to go out there and hold on to that legacy that the Lakers have built over the years."

The NBA trade deadline is not until February 9, but with the Lakers starting their season 1-5, they may act with urgency to turn things around.

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