Lakers Rumors: LA Still Among Likely Landing Spots For Longtime Trade Target

He could make a massive difference in one major department.

Although Myles Turner’s recent contract extension agreement with the Indiana Pacers appears to indicate there’s mutual interest in the 3-and-D center sticking around with the team that drafted him long-term, that doesn’t necessarily mean your Los Angeles Lakers are out of the running for other Pacers vets. 

Specifically, of course, we’re talking about a certain elite three-point gunner who’s long been a target of the Lake Show. To be fair, Turner, too, is technically still trade-eligible this season, although it at least seems like Indiana wants to retain him.

Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report writes that 30-year-old shooting guard Buddy Hield could still be a potential trade prospect for LA, even with Kendrick Nunn’s expiring deal off the table as a trade chip for the Lakers.

As Pincus notes, Los Angeles team vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka has a unique connection to Hield, as he used to represent the 6’4″ swingman as his agent before pivoting to his current executive role in LA’s front office. 

A combination of Patrick Beverley’s $13 million expiring deal and the one-year, $6.5 million contract of wing Lonnie Walker IV would work in an exchange for Hield’s $22.8 million salary, per ESPN’s Trade Machine. LA could throw in a veteran’s minimum contract if it wants to get the money closer (can we interest you in some Damian Jones, Indy?). 

Hield is a better player than Walker, and still has another season left on his contract, for a more affordable $18.6 million. Beverley is ostensibly one of the Lakers’ better perimeter defenders, though he is not his former self in that department. It might be a net gain for LA, but perhaps the team might be better off adding a cheaper player, someone the club could flip for just Beverley’s money (Josh Richardson or Doug McDermott of the Spurs, perhaps), and holding onto Walker in the offing.

Hield’s 42.5% conversion on 8.9 triples per game makes him one of the game’s best long-range snipers on volume this season. And it’s no fluke, he’s a career 40.1% three-point shooter on 7.1 attempts a night. This year, he’s the ninth-best three-point shooter in the league by percentage, right in between eighth-place Stephen Curry and tenth-place Norm Powell. His 463 three-point tries for the year is the most frequently a player has launched the rock from deep this season. LA, as you know, is a terrible three-point shooting team. Walker is one of the league’s better gunners from beyond the arc, he’s just not in Hield’s class, either in terms of consistency of makes or sheer quantity of tries.

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