Rumors: Details on the Pacers and Lakers Russell Westbrook trade negotiations

The Indiana Pacers and the Los Angeles Lakers have discussed a deal that would send both Myles Turner and Buddy Hield to L.A. and Russell Westbrook and draft compensation to Indiana according to multiple media outlets.

Bob Kravitz of The Athletic reports the deal is currently “dead” as the Pacers would like an additional first-round pick to the current draft capital that’s being offered.

The biggest issue with the deal is that the Lakers are limited in what draft picks they have to even offer after sending so many out to get Anthony Davis and the limits on trading firsts in consecutive seasons. The Lakers could only offer firsts in 2027 and 2029 at the moment. While those could be enticing if unproctected given LeBron James’s age, it’s a hefty price to acquire both of those picks with a $47 million contract attached to a player that the Pacers would have no interest in actually wearing the team’s uniform while also giving up two players that may be able to fetch first-round picks on their own to needy contending teams at the deadline. Not to mention the Lakers won’t add both picks to the deal at the moment anyway. Marc Stein reports the teams are “pretty far apart.”

Taking on the Westbrook contract alone should be worth a future first-round pick and they could do that without sending either Turner or Hield. They could send Daniel Theis, T.J. McConnell, and Goga Bitadze for example. If a deal did happen, Pacers would probably buyout Westbrook for over $40 million. That’s a lot of money to spend on a lottery ticket five years into the future that could end up just being a late first if a couple stars decide they want to team up in Los Angeles after James retires. Even just one first-round pick seven years into the future for either Hield or Turner would feel like low value but if unprotected you could easily talk me into it.

But both players for a pick that’ll be on someone that’s barely in middle school at the moment feels like way too far away unless there are additional pick swaps or something. In this hypothetical swap, the Pacers would also be saving the Lakers on some luxury tax payments as well.

The Pacers should have no interest in taking on Westbrook for him to actually play as he’d only hinder the Pacers quest to develop Haliburton’s scoring and Kravitz reports that he would not play for the team if a deal did happen. If Herb Simon is willing to take on the Westbrook contract just to buy him out, that’s another big spending move that he’s never really done before, following the Pacers max contract offer sheet to Deandre Ayton. It’s fascinating to see the team owner buy in to a total rebuild and break down the entire roster after never doing so in his ownership tenure previously as the Pacers even treaded water post-Brawl with Jim O’Brien instead of completely bottoming out.

If Turner and Hield do end up being traded before the start of the season, the team’s highest paid player would be Daniel Theis. Sending out these two veterans would further enforce the idea that they are all in with building around Tyrese Haliburton and trying to put him in a position where he’s almost forced to be the assertive one in the lineup.

At the moment, there’s no reason for the Pacers to rush into an inadequate, underwhelming offer for two of their best remaining veterans. The Lakers may be more inclined to offer additional compensation if their Westbrook experiment continues to struggle in its second season and the Pacers may find cheaper ways to use cap space as a salary dumping ground in exchange for assets as well. If Myles Turner’s value is lower now because of injury concerns, then playing with Haliburton may boost his value to other teams and be beneficial to him whether he’s traded to a contender or earns a bag heading into free agency next summer.

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