The Los Angeles Lakers suffered a discouraging blow after star forward Anthony Davis suffered a left knee injury that will force him to miss at least the next four weeks. Davis’ absence leaves a significant void that the Lakers may have to venture into the trade market. It may push the team to consider acquiring disgruntled star big man Myles Turner.
Anthony Davis expected to miss at least four weeks
As the Lakers move through the next month, it will be without the eight-time All-Star big man after suffering an MCL sprain in his left knee.
The injury occurred in the third quarter of Friday’s loss to the Timberwolves after forward Jaden McDaniels lost his balance and fell into Davis’ knee. The star big man necessitated help to get off the court and into the locker room.
Injuries have plagued Davis throughout his career as he’s missed significant playing time since joining the Lakers. His first campaign featured him playing 62 games while helping lift the franchise to the 2020 NBA title. Last season, he only played in 36 contests due to a calf injury related to his Achilles tendon that forced him to miss three months.
The Lakers will handle the latest situation with much precaution, given his importance to their NBA title chances. Despite his offensive struggles, shooting (17.9% from 3-point range), he remained one of the league’s best defensive factors. His absence creates a gaping void defensively while putting more offensive onus on LeBron James and Russell Westbrook.
Davis’ injury may guide the Lakers to make a strong push to acquire a disgruntled big man to fortify their frontcourt.
Anthony Davis’ devastating Injury just forced the Lakers to consider a desperate trade for Myles Turner
The Lakers’ sluggish start has generated outside doubt concerning their chances to vie for an NBA title.
It’s sprouted dialogue toward potential trade targets, with Indiana Pacers star big man Myles Turner prominently mentioned. Turner is growing unhappy in Indiana as he desires to play with a franchise that isn’t considering a rebuild.
The 25-year-old is one of the league’s best defensive big men, as he’s leading the league with 2.9 blocks per contest. Turner is also a highly effective scorer, shooting 51.3% from the floor, including 36.4% from beyond the arc. The Lakers’ interest in him stems from his defensive prowess.
Davis’ extended absence elevates the pressure on Los Angeles to keep the boat afloat. Turner’s addition would help significantly feel the void in the paint. However, the difficult part of the equation centers on his contract as he’s in the third year of his four-year, $80 million deal that holds an $18 million cap hit this season.
Since the Lakers are up against the salary cap, they must move their higher-paid players. Outside of their big three, Talen Horton-Tucker is next up at $9.5 million, while Kendrick Nunn is next at $5 million. Beyond that, every other player on the roster is making the veteran’s minimum with a roughly $1.7 million cap hit.
This premise speaks to the Lakers being fine with the idea of moving Horton-Tucker if they pursue a trade for any player with a significant salary. Los Angeles has received some considerable interest from several teams in the 21-year-old. If the front office is willing to head in that direction, a move could quickly become feasible.
Jerami Grant is one of a handful of players LA could acquire
Turner certainly makes the most sense, but other options may quickly emerge.
Recent reports suggested the Lakers hold interest in Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant. Since joining the Pistons, the 27-year-old has developed into a highly dependable offensive factor, averaging north of 20 points.
Grant is in the second year of his three-year, $60 million deal that holds a roughly $20 million cap hit for the 2021-22 season. The Lakers’ interest in Grant dates back to his time with the Denver Nuggets, where he showcased his versatility as a scorer and strong defensive factor.
Los Angeles could also pursue New York Knicks big man Mitchell Robinson, who the front office has long held an interest in acquiring. Robinson provides strong rim protection while he’s in the final year of his contract, making only $1.8 million.
The Lakers held an interest in Orlando Magic center Mo Bamba, who is in the final year of his deal with a $7.5 million salary. Bamba could provide much-needed youth and length.
Ultimately, if Los Angeles wants to beef up the frontcourt, they will have options.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.