The Los Angeles Lakers remain the subject of trade speculations after a 3-10 start to the 2022-23 NBA season.
L.A. ended its five-game losing streak on Sunday, beating the Brooklyn Nets 116-103. But even though the victory provided the Lakers with some relief after a nightmare first month of the new campaign, the Purple and Gold still own the third-worst record in the NBA, placing them 3.0 games behind the play-in spots in the Western Conference.
Early roster changes appear to be the Lakers’ only hope of salvaging the season, propelling the rumor mill that’s been in motion for months. L.A. could still return to the negotiation table and reengage in Russell Westbrook trade talks with the likes of the Indiana Pacers, Utah Jazz or Charlotte Hornets.
However, Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus reports the L.A. Clippers could now stand in a way of a potential deal with the Pacers after showing interest in Lakers target Myles Turner:
Much has been made of the perceived trade stalemate between the Indiana Pacers and Los Angeles Lakers, but the Los Angeles Clippers may yet change the conversation entirely.
According to multiple sources, the Clippers have discussed targeting Myles Turner in the market.
Pincus adds the Pacers are understood to be looking for other trade partners due to the Lakers’ staunch refusal to include their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in a Westbrook deal that would send Turner and Buddy Hield to California:
The Lakers (3-10) have long discussed sending Russell Westbrook to the Pacers for Buddy Hield and Turner. The Pacers have been adamant that a deal only makes sense if it includes two first-round picks from L.A. (likely 2027 and 2029). To date, the Lakers haven’t been willing to make that commitment.
Could the Pacers be using the Clippers to try to pressure the Lakers into a deal for both firsts? One source believes Indiana has enough skepticism to move on from the Lakers.
The Pacers are off to a surprisingly good start of the season with a 6-6 record despite seemingly initiating a rebuild of the team earlier this year. Ironically, that could only encourage Indiana to ship Turner and Hield quicker in hopes of landing the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
The pick will come with the right to select France’s Victor Wembanyama, widely considered to be one of the most exciting prospects since LeBron James.
Max Christie doesn’t feel pressure entering Lakers’ rotation
The poor form at the beginning of 2022-23 forced head coach Darvin Ham to tinker with the Lakers roster, resulting in first-team opportunities for rookie Max Christie. The 19-year-old wing clocked in 20.2 minutes per night over the last four games.
And the Michigan State alum has been exceeding expectations, averaging 4.5 points and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 50% for 3.
Christie says the unexpectedly sizable role alleviates some of the stress that comes with starting his NBA career rather than amplifying it, even though he earned it so early in the season.
“It definitely feels good to know that you’re going in every single time now,” Christie said ahead of the win over Brooklyn.
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