According to the publication, the Lakers still appear to be “clear favorites” to win a second straight championship later this year, with players such as Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell arriving in the offseason and teaming with superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis. However, Davis appears to be the club’s only “legit defensive threat” due to recent addition Marc Gasol’s struggles on that end of the floor.
As recommended, the Lakers could land Turner and a 2023 second-round pick from the Pacers by offering a package that included three key reserves — Gasol, Kyle Kuzma, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The outlet wrote that Turner is an ideal trade target because of his reputation as a “great” defender, one who led the NBA in blocks in the 2018-19 campaign. Although his offensive numbers have slightly been on the decline as of late, it was noted that the former Texas Longhorns star can contribute not only from the low post but also from beyond the arc.
“With Anthony Davis arguably being the best defensive player in the league, adding what is one of the best shot-blockers in the league makes this Lakers’ frontcourt not only the best in the league, but possibly one of the best defensive frontcourts in NBA history.”
In 11 games this season, Turner is averaging 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and a league-leading 4.1 blocks per game, according to Basketball-Reference. While he is shooting at a 49.5 percent clip from the field, his three-point shooting has declined a bit from last season, as he has converted only 31.3 percent of his shots from long distance thus far.
As explained by NBA Analysis Network, the hypothetical deal cannot be executed just yet, as Caldwell-Pope and Gasol signed new contracts in the offseason that prevent them from being moved until the end of February. However, the outlet predicted that the transaction could help the Pacers in a number of ways. Given Kuzma’s contributions off the bench for the Lakers, he could potentially become an important long-term part of Indiana’s roster due to his versatility and athleticism.
Caldwell-Pope’s outside game, meanwhile, might help the Pacers become an even better three-point shooting team — currently, they rank 14th in that category. The site also speculated that the veteran Gasol could benefit from additional playing time, considering how Domantas Sabonis is Indiana’s only other “legit” big man.
Turner is not the only potential trade target that has been suggested for the Lakers in recent days. As reported by The Inquisitr, a separate scenario had Dwight Howard returning to Los Angeles in a deal that would send reserve guard Alex Caruso to the Philadelphia 76ers.