The Los Angeles Lakers are a team that clearly needs to make changes this offseason. They finished 33-49 last season and missed the play-in tournament, despite trading for star point guard Russell Westbrook. They absolutely need a new direction, and a recently suggested trade might be the answer to their problems.
NBA insider and analyst Marc Spears has suggested a trade idea for the Los Angeles Lakers. This trade involves them giving up Russell Westbrook and two of their first-round picks in exchange for two solid players in Buddy Hield and Myles Turner.
Los Angeles Lakers Receive: Buddy Hield, Myles Turner
Indiana Pacers Receive: Russell Westbrook, 2027 First-Round Pick, 2029 First-Round Pick
In this article, we will examine why this trade works out for both teams. There are definitely good arguments for it happening, and each side has something to gain in this scenario.
Los Angeles Lakers Get Two Elite Role Players
The Los Angeles Lakers prioritized adding big names over making a cohesive team last year, a strategy that clearly did not pay off. Russell Westbrook ended up being a poor fit for the team, as he wasn't an elite shooter or defender that could play off of LeBron James and Anthony Davis as a No. 3 option. However, this trade would get them two players that can thrive in complementary roles and provide skill sets that work well with the Lakers' superstars.
Buddy Hield is well-known for being a top-tier 3PT shooter, and many would agree that he is a top-5 in terms of scoring 3PT shots on high volume. He can heat up and have insane scoring nights simply due to his ability from range. While he isn't an elite defender, the Los Angeles Lakers have a lot of solid defenders on their roster as of right now, but they are missing the 3PT shooting that is needed to succeed at the highest level in today's league.
Myles Turner is a center that can protect the rim at a high level, notably leading the league in blocks twice during his career. He is also a solid 3PT shooter for a center, averaging 34.9% from beyond the arc for his career. Turner is the perfect center to pair in the frontcourt with Anthony Davis. He can lessen the wear and tear on Anthony Davis and allow him to play the PF position, while Anthony Davis would make up for Turner's deficiencies as a scorer and rebounder. The two would be an elite "Twin Towers" frontcourt defensively, and the Lakers' rim protection would be absolutely insane.
Sometimes, it is better to go for fit over talent. Russell Westbrook is a very talented player, but he commands a lot of offensive usage and needs to have the ball in his hands to succeed. Neither Myles Turner nor Buddy Hield needs the ball in their hands to thrive, which is why this trade would be smart to make for the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Indiana Pacers Get Good Draft Compensation And An Expiring Contract
The key for the Indiana Pacers in this scenario would be getting the Lakers' two first-round picks, which project to be valuable assets as they will be conveyed during a time when the Lakers are unlikely to be contenders. That means they would allow the Indiana Pacers to draft top-tier prospects in the future, which is important for a small-market franchise like the Pacers.
The Indiana Pacers would also be getting Russell Westbrook's expiring contract in this scenario. While obviously, they would probably buy his contract out once he gets there, it is possible that he would provide value to the team as a veteran leader. Russell Westbrook has done a lot in the league. He's been an MVP, reached the NBA Finals, and has been in a variety of different situations and franchises. Westbrook imparting his experience to the Pacers' young core could be extremely valuable, in particular for point guard Tyrese Haliburton, who is also a pass-first point guard and elite playmaker.
Moving off of Buddy Hield's contract is key for the Indiana Pacers here as well, as he is signed through the 2023-24 season. The Pacers will save some money by acquiring Russell Westbrook in this scenario, and that could potentially be important as they will likely be a tanking team next year.
For the Indiana Pacers, this trade is simply about acquiring future assets for their rebuild. The Pacers wouldn't be giving up much in this scenario, and moving role players could help them tank for top-tier prospects in the 2023 draft class, such as Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson, who are projected to be the future stars in this league.
This Trade Is A Win-Win Proposition
Obviously, the Los Angeles Lakers have other options. There have been a lot of suggestions that they are interested in Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving, and he would definitely increase the team's star power. However, a recent report by Adrian Wojnarowski revealed that the Brooklyn Nets are not interested in the Los Angeles Lakers' current offer, even if it involves both of their first-round picks.
Thus, the Indiana Pacers deal is still on the table. While it was stated that they are unwilling to give up two first-round picks for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner as of right now, perhaps they will change their mind as the start of the season draws near and the pressure sets in to make a move to help LeBron James and Anthony Davis win another championship for the franchise. Obviously, this move would rob them of some future flexibility, but the Los Angeles Lakers have other picks going forward that they can use to draft players once their contending window closes.
Obviously, for the Indiana Pacers, this trade is about getting good value for their role players. Myles Turner is on an expiring contract as of right now, while Buddy Hield is generally considered to be on a poor contract. This trade would allow them to get some valuable draft compensation for their players.
Overall, this is a win-win trade that can potentially have many benefits for both teams. Hopefully, we will see the two teams engage in discussions about this particular trade in the near future.