The Los Angeles Lakers spent much of this summer trying to trade Russell Westbrook after the disaster that was their 2021-22 season.
They reportedly had some serious offers, including one from the Indiana Pacers that would’ve netted them sharpshooter Buddy Hield and shot-blocking center Myles Turner for Westbrook and two future first-round draft picks.
Fans seemed split on whether it was a trade worth pulling the trigger on. But the Lakers reportedly had some serious internal conversations about it.
Via The Athletic:
“On the cusp of training camp, as media day neared and the topic of Westbrook’s uncertain future continued to dominate the conversation around the NBA, sources with direct knowledge of the negotiations say the Lakers’ key decision-makers spent several days engaged in deep conversations about the feasibility of a blockbuster trade with Indiana.
“Vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka, owner Jeanie Buss and senior basketball adviser Kurt Rambis seriously considered sending Westbrook and unprotected first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 to the Pacers for center Myles Turner and guard Buddy Hield, sources said. They held a series of meetings in the days leading up to camp to analyze the possible Pacers deal from every angle, with the views of Ham and Lakers executives Joey and Jesse Buss also being strongly considered in the process. The organization even delayed the midweek news conference for Pelinka and Ham as the debate continued.
“There was much to consider for them all, and there was momentum at times toward a deal going down.
“Do we put both of our chips on the table now or save them for a better deal down the line? Would Turner and Hield be championship difference-makers long-term, or would Turner’s looming free agency this summer undermine their big-picture plan?”
Ultimately, L.A. decided against doing the trade, and it is now rolling into the preseason apparently looking to see what happens with Westbrook, a mostly new roster and a new head coach in Darvin Ham.
There is always the chance that different circumstances will stir something within the 2017 league MVP and get him to fit in and be a genuinely positive asset for the team.
The same report from The Athletic also noted that the prospect of Westbrook “being traded in the coming weeks and months remains real.” With the Lakers still needing one or two more two-way wings in order to field a roster that at least resembles an imitation of a championship contender, it remains to be seen if they would still consider the offer Indiana made to them.