With the start of training camp now less than a month away, the Los Angeles Lakers are still searching for roster upgrades in hopes of getting back into championship contention.
The Lakers recently made their first trade of the summer, acquiring Patrick Beverley from the Utah Jazz for Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson.
As of now though, Russell Westbrook remains on the Lakers roster as they have not yet found a deal that works for both sides. The Lakers have both their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks to offer along with Westbrook but are believed to only be willing to offer both if it truly vaults them into contention.
With Kyrie Irving no longer a possibility, the Lakers’ No. 1 option seems to be swapping Westbrook for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers make sense as they are going through a rebuild and can give the Lakers a pair of role players and get off Hield’s multi-year contract while taking back Westbrook’s expiring deal if they are compensated properly.
While the Lakers have been hesitant to include both first-rounders in a Pacers deal, it seems that’s not all that Indiana wanted. According to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, the Pacers also wanted Horton-Tucker and for the Lakers to take back center Daniel Theis:
One note that’s interesting is before the Lakers traded Talen Horton-Tucker to Utah in the Patrick Beverley trade, the Pacers were trying to get Horton-Tucker, I’m told. Essentially, Indiana was hoping to get Westbrook’s expiring contract, the Lakers’ two first-round picks in 2027 and 2029, along with Horton-Tucker for Turner, Hield and they wanted to make LA take Daniel Theis, who has some years looking ahead on his contract. Theis is more of a fit on a playoff-caliber team as we saw with the Celtics previously. The Lakers weren’t trying to essentially part with THT for Theis in that expanded trade package discussion after already having reservations about moving two first-round picks to get off Westbrook’s contract. In talking with people around the league, anybody that’s taking on Westbrook wants both of those first-round picks.
Theis has three years at around $9 million a year remaining on his deal with the third year being a team option. On a roster that already includes Anthony Davis, Thomas Bryant and Damian Jones, and would also be adding Turner, the Lakers wouldn’t have much use for Theis.
Additionally, if Horton-Tucker was included in the trade then he wouldn’t have been able to be used to acquire Beverley, who the Lakers clearly preferred over Theis.
While it seems that the Lakers and Pacers are far off on an agreement, it still seems like a deal could potentially get done if L.A. includes both first-round picks. The question is whether they are willing to do that though, and if they’re not, then they may go into training camp with Westbrook still on the roster.
Ham determined to carve out ‘real role’ for Westbrook
If Westbrook remains with the Lakers then it remains to be seen what role he will play, especially after the addition of another guard in Beverley.
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham is reportedly doing everything he can to make it work though, so it will be interesting to see how he can do that if Westbrook is indeed still on the roster when camp begins.
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