The LA Lakers have been repeatedly linked to the Indiana Pacers as possible commercial suitors for Russell Westbrook this offseason. Although nothing significant happened, the door was not completely closed by either team.
The LA Lakers did their best to improve their roster this offseason. Although they made some changes to replace the older players they signed the previous year, their moves don’t really warrant attention.
Prior to the 2021-22 campaign, the Lakers wanted to trade several players for Boyfriend Hield. This was to remedy their lack of a reliable perimeter shooter. However, their plans changed when LeBron James and Anthony Davis pushed hard to negotiate for Russell Westbrook.
With Westbrook, people thought the doors had closed on getting Hield, especially after he was dealt to the Pacers by the Sacramento Kings. But it seems the Pacers are still interested as they have reportedly been in talks with the LA Lakers.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Lakers and Pacers have engaged in trade negotiations involving multiple players and picks. The Lakers aren’t impressed with the Pacers’ demands for the two first-round picks. Instead, they will wait until the trade deadline.
“I’ve been told that the Lakers and Pacers engaged in trade conversations this week and that the Pacers’ request for two unprotected first-round picks,” Charania said, “…This price of two first-round picks round just isn’t appealing to the Lakers.”
“The Lakers, they’ve realized that’s a very important ball that they’re going to have to use. When you look at two unprotected first-round picks, they have to expire exactly when does it make sense to make a trade like that. In Right now, this Pacers package of Buddy Hield and Myles Turner is not what they’re willing to trade two first-round picks for.”
The LA Lakers will be on the lookout for how they can use the picks the Pacers demanded at the trade deadline. One thing people should watch closely is Russell Westbrook’s involvement in the trade rumors.
The LA Lakers learned their lesson by trading their future picks
When LeBron James joined the LA Lakers in 2018, the team immediately transformed from a rebuilding team to a contender. Although not a quick change, the team has taken significant steps to achieve this status.
The team missed the playoffs in James’ first season, prompting major changes in the 2019 offseason. They’ll Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and several future picks in exchange for Anthony Davis. It paid off as they won the 2020 NBA Championship in the Orlando bubble.
But due to fatigue, they were eliminated in the 2021 playoffs by the Phoenix Suns. After that, they decided to add another star and traded several players and future picks for Westbrook.
Now the LA Lakers have learned their lesson and are resisting the asset swap the Indiana Pacers are demanding.