Even though free agency began almost a month ago, the Los Angeles Lakers are one of the teams still in search of roster upgrades for the 2022-23 season.
With only one open roster spot to work with and no cap space, any moves the Lakers make will likely have to come via trade. The Lakers have been linked to Kyrie Irving all offseason but with the Brooklyn Nets unlikely to trade him before Kevin Durant’s situation is resolved, L.A. has begun to look at other options on the trade market.
One that has potentially emerged is the Indiana Pacers as they have open cap space to take on Russell Westbrook’s contract if they are compensated accordingly with future draft picks.
The Lakers have long been interested in Buddy Hield and Myles Turner but have been reluctant to include both of their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks to dump Westbrook’s expiring deal.
While the Lakers and Pacers recently re-engaged in trade talks, it appears those aren’t going to go anywhere until the L.A. includes both first-round picks, via Bob Kravitz of The Athletic:
Per source, the Lakers-Pacers trade involving Russell Westbrook, Myles Turner, Buddy Hield and other assets is currently dead. That's not to say the Lakers can't come back and add a second first-round pick to the current package of picks, but for now, things are at a standstill.
— Bob Kravitz (@bkravitz) July 22, 2022
With there being no traction on a deal for Irving or with the Pacers, it’s unclear what trades are out there for the Lakers to upgrade their roster. The Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs are two options for Westbrook considering they are entering rebuilds, but similar to the Pacers, they would want as much draft compensation as possible from the Lakers.
It seems that the Lakers are waiting on a resolution on Irving’s situation since pairing him with LeBron James and Anthony Davis would be their best path to championship contention. If that doesn’t work out though and the season draws near, it will be interesting to see if Rob Pelinka circles back to the Pacers and offers both picks to get a deal done.
Westbrook, James and Davis vowed to make things work in phone call
If the Lakers are unable to find a trade for Westbrook then he will be with the organization for one more season before his contract expires.
With that possibility becoming more likely, Westbrook, James and Davis reportedly huddled up in a phone call, vowing to make things work this season.
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