The Los Angeles Lakers were one of the first teams to make a deal ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline, sending Kendrick Nunn and three second-round draft picks to the Washington Wizards for Rui Hachimura.
Hachimura fits the Lakers well as a long, big-bodied floor-spacer and should help get the team back into postseason contention. Considering L.A. did not sacrifice either of their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in the deal, they still have options to make other trades ahead of the deadline if they want to continue improving the roster.
One potential option the Lakers have been linked to for a while now is the Indiana Pacers with Myles Turner, Buddy Hield and Russell Westbrook being involved. The Lakers were hesitant to include both first-round picks in their offer this past summer, although even Turner himself openly spoke about why L.A. should take a hard look at trading for him.
Those talks have cooled off with the Pacers being in the postseason mix and the Lakers acquiring another front-court player in Hachimura, however.
While there still was a slight possibility Turner would be moved ahead of the deadline, that is now no longer an option as he is signing an extension to stay in Indiana, via Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner has agreed on a two-year, $60M contract extension that includes an additional $17.1M renegotiation on his 2022-2023 salary, his agent Austin Brown of CAA Sports tells ESPN. pic.twitter.com/17nSSwN14z
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 28, 2023
Despite the various trade rumors linking Turner to L.A., this made sense in the end for both the center and the Pacers given their cap situation.
The Pacers currently have the lowest payroll in the league at $96 million. Teams must spend at least $111.3 million for the 2022-23 season or else they will still have to redistribute the difference to the players on the roster.
Since they had to pay that money regardless, Turner’s two-year, 58 million extension includes a $17 million raise this season to help get them over the cap, per Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Myles Turner and Pacers reach agreement to keep Turner under contract through 2024-25 season, salaries as followed, per sources:
– $35 million this season ($18M salary plus $17M of Pacers’ salary space)
– $20.9M in 2023-24
– $19.9M in 2024-25
Total: 2 additional years, $58M.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 28, 2023
While Turner may be an option for the Lakers in trades down the road, he won’t be going anywhere for the rest of this season. That doesn’t mean that a trade can happen between these two teams though as the Pacers could still shop Hield at the deadline. The Lakers could make the salaries work by including Patrick Beverley and Lonnie Walker IV, if they even feel that is a worthy enough roster upgrade.
L.A. still needs shooting, which Hield could help address. But Beverley has been shooting 42% from 3 in his last 20 games and Walker is at 38.4% on the year. They also offer more defensively than Hield, so roster upgrades would likely come elsewhere if the Lakers make a move at the deadline.
Pelinka willing to trade picks if it makes Lakers championship ‘front-runners’
After the acquisition of Hachimura, Rob Pelinka spoke about his willingness to make another move ahead of the deadline involving one or both of the Lakers’ first-round picks. What it boils down to for Pelinka is that if a deal can make the team championship ‘front-runners’ then he is willing to make it.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!