The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly spent a major part of the summer trying to trade Russell Westbrook — with the Indiana Pacers being mentioned as a potential suitor since the rumors of the guard’s potential move started.
The Lakers and Pacers are understood to have talked about trading Westbrook for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner. However, Indiana reportedly has been asking for LA’s 2027 and 2029 first-round picks to be included in the deal, making it a hurdle in the negotiations the two sides haven’t been able to overcome.
On Thursday, Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan said the franchise expects Turner to start the 2022-23 season with Indiana, suggesting the negotiations with the Lakers are over. And The Athletic’s Shams Charania seems to confirm that’s the case, saying the Lakers deem the Pacers’ demand of two unprotected first-round picks a deal-breaker, via The Rally:
“I’m told the Lakers and Pacers did engage in some trade conversations this week and the Pacers demand for two unprotected first-round picks has not changed throughout the summer for any deal that includes Buddy Hield and Myles Turner. And today, Chad Buchanan, the Pacers GM, came out and said that they expect Myles Turner to start the season with the team at center. Those two first-round pick prices are just not appealing for the Lakers. And right now, they’re going to be very prudent, I think, in their approach going into the season. There’s a long runway with Russell Westbrook this team has, they can see how the team starts, they have up until the trade deadline. He is on an expiring contract and the Lakers mindset, I’m told, is — they realize that this is a very significant bullet that they’re going to have to use. When you look at two unprotected first-round picks. They have to time out exactly when it makes sense to make a trade like this. 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 Lakers have steadfastly refused to part with their valuable first-round picks to just take Westbrook’s $47.1 million salary off the books, maintaining they would only include both first-rounders if the trade moved the needle for them.
That’s also understood to be the reason why LA hasn’t been able to strike a deal with the Utah Jazz despite the Purple and Gold’s interest in Bojan Bogdanovic, who is now reportedly being sent to the Detroit Pistons.
Westbrook announces he’s opening a store in LA
As trade rumors swirl around, Westbrook has announced he is opening a store — likely a fashion outlet — in LA this week. However, that’s not necessarily suggesting the 2017 NBA MVP will start the 2022-23 season with the Lakers.
Westbrook has been involved in many business ventures outside of basketball over the last few years — and his interest in fashion is well-documented.
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