OTG's NBA Trade Deadline Marathon: Day 8
*The Lakers also send their 2018 second round draft pick via Denver to the Indiana Pacers*
The Los Angeles Lakers have played below expectations this season, and it's no secret they are waiting until the summer of 2018 hoping to make a major splash in free agency.
Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka has made it a priority to clear as much cap space as possible to pursue the likes of LeBron James, Paul George, and DeMarcus Cousins. In order to do so, the Lakers would love to unload Luol Deng's contract, in which he signed a 4 year / $72,000,000 contract with the Lakers. Deng's contract isn't off the books until the summer of 2020. Yeah, it was one of the worst signings in recent memory.
With the recent success of the Oklahoma City Thunder, the likelihood of George leaving the Thunder becomes less likely. George has always displayed the affection for his hometown of Los Angeles, but he has also said he will prioritize winning over anything else.
The Pelicans are also in the playoff hunt, currently sitting 7th in the Western Conference. Both big man Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins was both named All-Star starters, proving the twin tower experiment to be a success thus far this season.
Then there's LeBron James, who is the most prized player in all of basketball. The Cleveland Cavaliers struggling is great news for the city of angels. The Cavaliers defense is a huge weakness this season, and barring any trades, it's not likely to suddenly get better. Should the Cavaliers not reach the NBA Finals, there's a slight chance he may leave. However, it's still all just speculation.
The Lakers could trade Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson to the Indiana Pacers for Myles Turner, who is one of the better young players today. Turner has yet to blow up this season, where he's taken somewhat of a back seat with Victor Oladipo in town. He has also missed 13 games this season due to injuries.
Oladipo has performed like an All-Star this season, and he has established himself into the franchise player. The emergence of Domantas Sabonis has also made Turner somewhat expandable. Trading Turner would form push Sabonis into the starting lineup, where he has averaged 17.2 points and 10.0 rebounds on 59 percent shooting this season in which he played over 30 minutes. Randle would likely start at the power forward position, with Thaddeus Young coming off the bench. Clarkson would be a huge upgrade and a legitimate sixth-man off the bench to provide the offense. A Oladipo/Randle/Sabonis trio would be a nice young core for the Pacers to build around.
Adding Turner to the Lakers would give the Lakers a huge insurance should they strike out this summer, as Turner is still on a very friendly contract. Turner isn't a free agent until the summer of 2019. According to Basketball-Reference.com, Turner and the Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid were the only qualified players last season who averaged at least 14 points, seven boards and two blocks while draining at least 30 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc. He would be the perfect compliment to Luke Walton's system, where he could stretch out to the 3-point line while also being able to control and defend the paint with his athletic, defensive prowess. By also adding veteran Cory Joseph, the Lakers would have a reliable back up point guard, only so they can stop playing Tyler Ennis.
This trade would be a dream come true for Lakers fans.