Update: David Aldridge of NBA.com confirms the mutual interest between the Lakers and Turner. Original story follows.
Boston Celtics unrestricted free agent Evan Turner is interested in the Los Angeles Lakers, according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, who writes that “Turner has expressed interest in about six NBA teams, including the Lakers and Celtics.”
Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reports that the Lakers are among several teams “preparing to bid for Turner” and he could be an interesting signing for the right price. In addition to being the third player taken with the second overall pick on the Lakers’ roster (clearly a market inefficiency Los Angeles could exploit), Turner would bring another playmaker to a team sorely lacking in that department.
Just 51.3 percent of the Lakers’ baskets were assisted last season, the third worst percentage in the NBA. Turner averaged 4.4 assists per game last year and assisted on 24.7 percent of his teammates baskets while on the floor, second only to Isaiah Thomas on the Celtics.
Turner hasn’t lived up to the hopes the Philadelphia 76ers had for him when selecting him second overall, but he was a solid contributor as a de facto point forward off the bench for Boston. He could serve a similar role in Luke Walton’s egalitarian offense for the Lakers, looking to distribute with bench units or contributing at times as a starter.
He wouldn’t be the sexiest name on the market, but if the Lakers could nab Turner on a reasonable one or two-year deal, he could be a really good value signing in a summer where everyone is going to get “overpaid.”
Turner isn’t the type of big fish free agent who can turn a team’s fortunes around all on his own, but his time in Boston showed that he can contribute to a team getting better if he’s placed in the right role. Those are the types of players the Lakers need if they want to look respectable enough to have a shot at bigger fish next summer, so if they miss on plans a, b, c, and d, then Turner could be a good addition.