Myles Turner is having a career year, and if the Lakers aren’t careful, another team will trade for him

That Los Angeles Lakers spent months resisting the lure Indiana Pacers Center Myles Turner. They’ve since sparked interest in every star from Kyrie Irving to Bradley Beal, but despite a month-long offer from Indiana, they’ve refused to give up two unprotected first-round picks to land Turner and Buddy Hield. Every report since then has indicated that they prefer to wait for a star, but the irony is that after a month or so, Turner is actually playing basketball like one.

After years of sharing the Indiana center position with Domantas Sabonis, Turner has thrived on it all on his own. He had never averaged 15 points per game in his first seven seasons as a pacer. He’s up this season to a career-high 17.9. His 8.7 rebounds per game is also a career high, and aside from Jaren Jackson Jr., who only played a single game, Turner leads the NBA with 3.1 blocks per game. To top it off, his true shot rate of 65.6 is also the best of his career. One could plausibly argue that Turner is having his best season for goals, defense, and rebounds all at the same time.

These are all qualities that would serve the Lakers well. They are the worst shooting team in the NBA, and only Max Christie and Matt Ryan shoot better than Turner’s 37 percent from deep. They rank 26th in rebound rate, suggesting another big man is badly needed, and after starting the season hot on defense, they have 116.3 points per 100 in their last eight games possessions allowed, which ranks 28th in the NBA for the period. He may not have an All-Star selection under his belt, but Turner theoretically fits exactly what the Lakers need. He knows it. He recently headed to Los Angeles for The Woj Pod.

“When I’m the Lakers, I look very closely at that with the position that you’re in and I know that I can give a team my lead, my shot blocking, my 3-point ability and just my ability to games out there on the floor”, Turner said. “I would look at that for a very long time.”

Turner knows exactly how the basketball business works. He has an expiring contract. The Pacers are rebuilding and have a young great in Isaiah Jackson who is quickly earning more minutes. Most likely, they won’t be the team to give him a long-term deal this offseason. In recent months, the Lakers have been viewed as the most likely alternative. But the longer Turner plays this way, the more likely someone will rush in and grab him. Rumors already link him to their rivals.

Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus reported on Tuesday that the clippers, who have mostly played small this season following the free agent departure of Isaiah Hartenstein, are interested in Turner. That nets and pelicans Both have also been rumored to be Turner homes in the past, and on paper they’re a perfect match. In Ben Simmons and Zion Williamson, both have unconventional non-shooters in positions other than center, so Turner could bolster defenses behind both while also creating the gap they don’t have. This principle could apply to almost any team. Who doesn’t want an elite defense center that also makes 3s?

Apparently the Lakers, but they’re running out of time to change their minds. That doesn’t mean the Pacers are rushing to strike a deal. They would certainly prefer a trade with the Lakers given the value of their draft picks. LeBron James turns 38 in December. Trading first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 means making a pick when James is in his mid-40s and likely retiring. Other teams might be able to offer more picks, but this Lakers pick has the best chance of landing all available picks at the top of the draft (except, ironically, the Lakers picks, which the Pelicans already own). In a perfect world, Indiana would probably love to send Turner to the Lakers.

But they won’t wait forever. Turner has a long history of injuries, after all, and the longer they hold on to him, the greater the risk they won’t be able to treat him at all. If he continues to play this well, offers from other teams will only increase. The Lakers have no way of increasing their bid in a potential bidding war. You have two picks that can be legally traded. It’s just a question of whether they offer them or not.

They don’t have that yet. Maybe never. But if they don’t, Turner’s remarkable season suggests the Pacers won’t have much trouble finding another dealer. If the Lakers don’t make a deal soon, they could lose their chance.

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