Russell Westbrook trade rumours: Pacers deal dead because Lakers refused to pick two first-round picks

Russell Westbrook trade rumours: Pacers deal dead because Lakers refused to pick two first-round picks

The Los Angeles Lakers engaged the Indiana Pacers in trade talks that saw Russell Westbrook traded for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield, but those discussions are now dead because the Lakers have refused to include a second round pick, according to The Athletic .

While the Lakers would be willing to send any of their available first-round picks, specifically the 2027 pick, the Pacers believe they should get two of them — one for the trouble of accepting Westbrook’s contract and another in exchange for Turner and Hield .

The Lakers’ reluctance to ship future draft assets is nothing new. They reportedly turned down a chance to trade Westbrook for John Wall as of last season’s deadline because they didn’t want to give the deal a choice. However, this is the most accurate indication we’ve received regarding a possible Westbrook deal this summer.

Earlier this month, as expected, Westbrook opted for the final year of his $47.1 million contract. While the front office and coaching staff were honest with Westbrook that he needed to adjust his role, they were publicly supportive.

“We love everyone on our roster,” new coach Darvin Ham said during one of the Lakers’ Summer League games. “And until you’re not on our list, you’re ours and we’ll try to get better with our group. That’s just the bottom line.”

At a performance on all the smoke Podcast earlier this month, Ham was more direct: “I’m thrilled to be coaching Russ. They’re trying to offload Russ, I think that was one of the things that got me excited about this job. He and I have had a great relationship since I took the job, man.”

However, behind the scenes, it’s clear that the Lakers are working to trade him. In addition to this recent Pacers rumor, there has been a lot of discussion about a possible deal between the Brooklyn Nets and Kyrie Irving (although it’s hard to see why the networks would agree to that). There was also this latest information from Dave McMenamin Low post Podcast Featuring Zach Lowe: “Small sample size last year with Russ, but it’s pretty damn clear LeBron has seen enough and has no interest in going into another year with Russ as his teammate.”

It’s no surprise the Lakers are trying to move Westbrook. Getting him made no sense at all and went even worse than expected in his first season at the club. While Westbrook certainly wasn’t the Lakers’ only problem, he was a poor match for LeBron James and Anthony Davis and played a key role in the team finishing 21st in defense. Despite the organization’s best efforts, Westbrook seems unwilling to change his style, and it’s hard to imagine one of last season’s problems suddenly disappearing this season.

However, other teams are aware of Westbrook’s weaknesses and massive contract, making him difficult to actually trade. For now, it’s perfectly reasonable that the Lakers would want to wait before moving their two first-round picks, which represent their top trades, in a non-Irving deal. While there are risks in acquiring the former All-Star and the chances of a deal slimming, his upside is such that it makes sense to wait until his situation is resolved one way or another.

At some point, however, the Lakers may have to accept that a package from Turner and Hield is the best they can do for Westbrook. And while pinning multiple first-round picks would be a steep price to pay, they may have to bite the bullet to maximize the final seasons of James’ career.

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