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The Los Angeles Lakers may not get Kyrie Irving, but there are other possibilities
Upon signing LeBron James to an extension on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Lakers solidified their timeline. Now, they need to align other pieces with that same timeline to give themselves the best chance possible at winning a title.
James, reportedly, is putting pressure on the front office even though his leverage disappeared a bit upon signing his extension. His first choice to upgrade the roster is Kyrie Irving — who he won a title with in 2016 — but such a deal may be a bit of a longshot.
Even if Irving is off the table, the Lakers can not stand pat with essentially the same roster that missed the postseason last year. At this stage in LeBron’s career, every season counts. Moving Russell Westbrook is a priority, but the Lakers want some return on that failed experiment to move the needle.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, two players are on the table right now that LA has had discussions about: Myles Turner and Buddy Hield of the Indiana Pacers.
The Lakers could make a smaller move for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner if Kyrie Irving doesn’t pan out
According to Woj, the Lakers are unwilling to give up their two first-round picks (2027 and 2029) in exchange for Turner and Hield, the same picks they’d be, “willing” to provide in an Irving trade.
Woj also mentions that Westbrook would be a piece of virtually any deal the Lakers make.
The indication from Woj is that the Lakers want to add shooting and size, and Hield/Turner check off both of those boxes.
Myles Turner has had the backdrop of poor roster fit throughout his career, spending much of it with Domantas Sabonis starting alongside him, a clashing skillset that created a long-standing logjam in Indiana’s frontcourt which Pacers fans desperately wanted to work out. Turner is a big man who can shoot from three, averaging 33 percent or better on at least 4.0 attempts per game over the last three seasons. Still, his physical size allows him to fill in a traditional big man duty if needed, he’s averaged 2.3 blocks and 6.7 rebounds per game throughout his career.
Hield, acquired by Indiana last season when they moved Sabonis to the Kings, is under contract through 2024 and has historically been a good 3-point shooter. With Indiana last season, he averaged over 18.0 points per game.
Hield has long been connected to the Lakers in various rumors throughout the years, and was even reportedly in talks as an alternative to Westbrook last season according to Jason Jones of The Athletic (subscription required). Such a move would have been far more economical and likely a better fit since Westbrook can not stretch the floor in the same way Hield can.
It remains to be seen what, exactly, the Lakers will do, but one thing is certain: They must do something.