The Whiteboard: Why trading Myles Turner to the Lakers has gotten complicated

Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA Trade Rumors, The Whiteboard

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Myles Turner would apparently like the Pacers to trade him to the Lakers. But there are a lot of moving parts that could prevent this deal from happening.

A weird NBA weekend — Josh Primo released by the Spurs for allegedly exposing himself to multiple women, Kyrie Irving angrily defending his own obviously antisemitic behavior — is already showing signs of turning into a weird NBA week.

This morning, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski released a new episode of his podcast which included Myles Turner, currently of the Indiana Pacers, making the case for the Los Angeles Lakers to trade for him. We’ve certainly seen in-season trade requests before with players leaking their preferred destinations. But this is the first time I can recall seeing this play out in the guise of third-party expert analysis.

It’s not surprising that Turner would like to be traded. He’s been mentioned in trade rumors for years and the Pacers signaled they probably don’t see him as part of their future when they signed Deandre Ayton to a massive offer sheet this summer (which the Suns ended up matching). And on paper, it would seem to make sense for the Pacers to turn Turner and his expiring contact into a future first-round pick if they can. But that doesn’t mean it’s actually going to happen

How would the Lakers trade for Myles Turner?

The Lakers have been linked with Turner in trade rumors since early in the offseason but the most frequent and likely scenario had Turner and Buddy Hield going to the Lakers for Russell Westbrook and their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks (the early future picks they are able to trade under league rules).

The rumored sticking point was the Lakers’ unwillingness to trade both of those picks in a deal that would undoubtedly improve their roster. However, even if they were willing to include both of those picks right now, things may have changed for the Pacers because of Buddy Hield and Westbrook.

Hield has been absolutely phenomenal to start the season, averaging 17.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, shooting 44.6 percent from beyond the arc — rebound, assist and 3-point shooting numbers that are all career-highs. There is a line of thought that moving Hield could open more opportunities for rookie Bennedict Mathurin but Mathurin has been phenomenal in his own right, averaging 21.0 points in just under 30 minutes per game.

And the Pacers have played Hield, Haliburton and Mathurin together for 78 total minutes across seven games, scoring 130.8 points per 100 possessions in those minutes and outscoring opponents by 17.4 per 100. Hield’s shooting and offensive versatility have actually helped scaffold things for both Mathurin and Haliburton and could be extremely valuable in supporting their development.

Hield is also under contract for next year as well with a declining annual salary, a very reasonable $18 million for next season. The Pacers may want to try and flip him while his value is peaking but he also has a lot of immediate value, even as a veteran on this young, rebuilding roster, and if they held onto him for the rest of this season, they’d still have opportunities to recoup value before his contract expires by trading him next summer or at the 2023-24 trade deadline.

And Westbrook has been a disaster to start this season and there is essentially no scenario where the Pacers are able to flip him again for anything useful which means they’re just trying to buy him out for the rest of the season or simply paying him to stay away from their team.

All that is to say, it may make sense for the Pacers to uncouple Hield and Turner in trade scenarios and explore options besides the Lakers. They could see if the Lakers would be interested in just taking Turner for one of those future first-round picks but that would require the Lakers trading a lot of other pieces to make salaries match.

Where else could the Indiana Pacers trade Myles Turner besides the Los Angeles Lakers?

All of these are based on my own evaluations of roster needs, as opposed to reported rumors so please take them with a grain of salt.

Phoenix Suns: Trading for Myles Turner might be too much of a risk for the potentially fragile chemistry here after the Suns matched the offer sheet Deandre Ayton signed with the Indiana Pacers. But Turner would be useful depth, especially with Ayton just having sprained his ankle, and might be the most value the Suns could get back right now in a deal built around Jae Crowder.

Something like Turner and Oshae Brissett for Crowder and Dario Saric (who has only played two minutes since his 2021 ACL injury) and a protected first-round pick could work on paper. The Pacers can shop both Crowder and Saric for additional assets with a bit more flexibility to make a deal than the Suns had. Phoenix gets a pair of bigs who can be plugged into the rotation immediately for what are essentially empty roster spots right now.

Portland Trail Blazers: It would take some real cap shenanigans to make this work, with the Blazers having to send back Nassir Little, Keon Johnson, Justise Winslow, Drew Eubanks and Greg Brown II to make the salaries match. In that scenario, they almost certainly wouldn’t want to attach any additional picks and would need to sell the Pacers on the potential and upside of Johnson, Little and Brown. But as a defensive-minded backup/complement to Nurkic, Turner could help the Blazers if they are willing to pursue additional wing depth in other places.

Miami Heat: The Heat have gotten off to a terrible start and aren’t getting much in the way of offensive efficiency from either Duncan Robinson or Kyle Lowry. Trading either for Turner would be complicated for a number of reasons (including the hypothetical fit between Turner and Adebayo) but could be a way for the Heat to shake things up. Lowry and a pick for Turner and T.J. McConnell would help fill two holes but would require the Pacers to feel comfortable with their chances of buying out Lowry or re-packaging him in another deal. The Robinson deal is easier from a salary-matching standpoint but the three years remaining on his deal make him even more of a tough pill to swallow and Heat might have to include multiple picks to make it work.

Los Angeles Clippers: The Clippers are another championship aspirant off to a horrific start who might be looking for a shake-up. A deal could be built around Marcus Morris, Nicolas Batum or Robert Covington but in each case, they’d have to include a fairly valuable pick and sacrifice a bit of wing depth.

There aren’t any slam dunks out there for the Pacers but the Lakers deal isn’t as clear a win as it might have looked a few weeks ago. Westbrook has only gotten more toxic since the season began and the calculus on Buddy Hield has changed, potentially dramatically. It seemed like the Pacers were just waiting for the Lakers to get desperate enough to include both picks but, as desperate as the Lakers are right now, the moment for this deal may have passed.

— Ian Levy


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Kyrie Irving Tweets link to a movie with anti-Semitic themes, Jaylen Brown cuts ties with Kanye West

On Saturday, Kyrie Irving shared a link to an Amazon page for a movie that contains anti-Semitic themes. He doubled down in a press conference when reporter Nick Friedell said he was “promoting” the movie. Irving denied sharing being equal to promotion.
Here’s what you need to know:

Josh Primo released by Spurs, exposed himself to multiple women in organization

The Spurs shockingly released Josh Primo, a lottery pick from 2012.

  • Primo’s claim after the release: Primo released a statement before the allegations became public, indicating he has been, “seeking help to deal with previous trauma,” he suffered. He said he will be taking time to focus on his mental health and asked for privacy.
  • The allegations against Primo: After the release, it was reported by Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN that Primo exposed himself to multiple women in the organization.
  • One victim retained representation: One woman retained Tony Buzbee regarding an allegation of exposure against Primo. Buzbee represented the women in the Deshaun Watson lawsuit.
  • How long did the Spurs know?: Just before the incident, the Spurs picked up a several-million-dollar option on Primo’s contract for 2023-24, so it seems as if action was taken quite swiftly.

Lakers finally get a win

The Lakers got their first win of the season on Sunday over the Denver Nuggets.

  • Russell Westbrook impresses: Westbrook scored 18 points off the bench. Anthony Davis commended Westbrook for having the humility to come off the bench.
  • Very bad start: The last time the Lakers started a season 0-4 was 2016. This season was their worst start since 2014-15 when the Lakers also started 0-5. That year, the Lakers finished 21-61.
  • Digging out of a hole: The Lakers are 14th in the Western Conference standings.

Deandre Ayton ankle injury

Deandre Ayton will miss at least a week with a sprained ankle.

  • How did he injure his ankle?: Ayton was taking a jump shot near the foul line when Jonas Valanciunas’s foot was in his landing space. Ayton came down awkwardly on his foot and rolled the ankle, suffering the sprain as a result.
  • How important has Ayton been?: Ayton is averaging 15.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game.
  • Suns hot start: The Suns are 5-1 and face the Timberwolves, Trail Blazers twice, and Sixers over the next week.

— Josh Wilson

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