Pacers forward Myles Turner believes his services are what the Lakers need after a 1-5 start to the season.
During an appearance on the “The Woj Pod” on Monday, Turner was intrigued when asked about a report last month the Lakers were in serious discussions with the Pacers about potentially sending their two unprotected first-round picks (2027 and ’29) to Indiana for him and Buddy Hield.
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“If I’m the Lakers, I take a very hard look at this with the position that you’re in,” Turner said. “I know what I can provide for a team. My leadership, my shot-blocking, my three-point ability and just my ability to make plays out there on the floor.
“And I take a very long look at it. But as far as pulling the trigger, you know… I get paid to shoot, not making these calls, so I couldn’t answer that.”
Last month, The Athletic reported that the Lakers tried negotiating a blockbuster trade with the Pacers to offload Russell Westbrook right before training camp opened. The veteran guard was at the centre of summer-long trade rumours after a historically poor offensive performance last season.
The deal would’ve sent Westbrook and Los Angeles’ two unprotected first-round picks in 2027 and ’29 to the Pacers for Turner and Hield.
However, Lakers GM Rob Pelinka reportedly pulled the plug on the discussions, and decided to “remain patient” to see how the team jells.
“Yes, (it’s appealing). 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,” Turner said. “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 Lakers get. I think that another aspect that is playing with greatness and playing under LeBron, I feel like he demands 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. People are going expect you to go out there and hold on to that legacy that Lakers have built over the years.”
Westbrook’s shooting struggles continued as the Lakers went 0-5 to start the season. The former league MVP came off the bench in Monday’s 121-110 win over Nuggets (all times AEDT), in the Lakers’ latest experiment to make their roster work.
Westbrook — who exercised his $47.1 million option ($AUD 73 million) in June to return to Los Angeles — finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. He shot 6-for-12 from the field and was 2-for-4 from three-point range.
Meanwhile, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and head coach Darvin Ham have expressed optimism about Westbrook playing under the new coach.
It’s a matter of how long will the Lakers be patient with Westbrook. Los Angeles is in desperate need of shooting, which Turner and Hield could provide.
The Lakers are on a mission to return to the playoffs after a 33-49 finish last season, allowing the third-most points per game (115.1) in the NBA.
Turner is averaging 16 points, eight rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game in two contests this season. He is shooting 38.1 per cent from the field and 37.5 per cent from three.
In Saturday’s win over the Wizards, Turner finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks and shot 3-of-4 from three-point range. The Pacers are 3-4 to start the season.