Russell Westbrook trade rumors: Lakers nearly dealt star to Pacers before training camp, per report

- Advertisement -

Russell Westbrook remains with the Los Angeles Lakers despite the team trying to trade him all summer. Finding a team willing to take on the $47 million he owes for the rest of the season has been a daunting task for the Lakers, especially given his lackluster performance in Los Angeles last year.

However, days before training camp, Westbrook was nearly sent to the Indiana Pacers in a deal that would have brought both Miles Turner and Buddy Hield to the Lakers. by Athletic. Details:

“Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka, owner Jeanie Bass, and Senior Basketball Advisor Kurt Rambis were seriously considering sending Westbrook and undefended first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 to the Pacers as a center. Miles Turner and guard Buddy Heald, the sources said. In the days leading up to camp, they held a series of meetings to analyze a possible deal with the Pacers from all angles, with the views of Ham and Lakers executives Joey and Jesse Bass actively taken into account in the process. The organization even postponed a mid-week press conference for Pelinka and Ham as the debate continued.”

- Advertisement -

However, according to The Athletic, Pelinka ultimately made the decision to “stay patient” with Westbrook to see if he could find his way to the Lakers or if a better trade deal came up. But it wasn’t the first time the Lakers had tried to trade Westbrook this summer. When the Brooklyn Nets were on the brink of disaster, with Kevin Durant requesting a trade and Kyrie Irving also looking for a way out, there were rumors that the Lakers would try to trade Irving for Westbrook. The Nets never seriously considered a deal with Westbrook, so it was more of a one-sided deal.

- Advertisement -

The former league MVP was rumored to have been sent to the Utah Jazz in exchange for Bojan Bogdanovic, but he ended up being recently traded to the Detroit Pistons. The Athletic also reports that the Lakers were trying to poach Jordan Clarkson from the Jazz to Westbrook, but interestingly, Utah owner Ryan Smith is reportedly not interested in parting ways with him despite the fact that the team is in the process of being restored.

- Advertisement -

In the end, the most viable trade for Westbrook was with the Pacers, with whom the Lakers had been talking all summer about various schemes. Some packages included simply sending one of Turner or Heald to the Lakers for Westbrook and compensation for the draft. There was even discussion of bringing in a third team, specifically the Memphis Grizzlies, who would take one of Los Angeles’ future first-round picks and in return send two first-round picks to the Pacers to fulfill that request. However, the Lakers and Pacers were never able to come to a firm agreement on a trade package, and the Lakers backed down, which was a theme of sorts in their attempts to trade Westbrook.

Los Angeles has been adamant so far on not selling both of its future first-round picks in order to preserve assets for the future. But with LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the Lakers’ roster who are determined to fight for the championship, it doesn’t make sense for Pelinke and the rest of the Los Angeles bigwigs to skimp on their picks. There are still many years ahead of James playing at the highest level, and it would be wise for the Lakers to try to make the most of this opportunity.

But for now, it looks like Los Angeles will try to give Westbrook another chance to find his place on that team before trading him. They can always return to this opportunity before the February trading deadline. Or perhaps they simply waited out the last year of Westbrook’s contract and ended the relationship at the end of the season, giving them more financial flexibility to use free agents in the summer of 2023. We’ll just have to wait and see how it works out in Los Angeles, because since the Lakers won’t trade him, there’s now huge pressure on Westbrook, freshman coach Darwin Ham and Pelinka to make this situation work.



Source: www.cbssports.com

- Advertisement -