Lakers Almost Traded Russell Westbrook for $20 Million Guard & $17 Million Big Man: Report

Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook

Getty Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook

The Los Angeles Lakers almost traded Russell Westbrook for a $20 million guard and $17 million center.

According to an October 3rd report from Sam Amick, Shams Charania and Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the Lakers seriously considered sending Westbrook and unprotected first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 to the Indiana Pacers for center Myles Turner and shooting guard Buddy Hield. Los Angeles’ key decision-makers spent several days engaged in deep conversations about Westbrook’s future.

“On the cusp of training camp, as media day neared and the topic of Westbrook’s uncertain future continued to dominate the conversation around the NBA, sources with direct knowledge of the negotiations say the Lakers’ key decision-makers spent several days engaged in deep conversations about the feasibility of a blockbuster trade with Indiana,” Amick, Charania and Buha reported. “Vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka, owner Jeanie Buss and senior basketball adviser Kurt Rambis seriously considered sending Westbrook and unprotected first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 to the Pacers for center Myles Turner and guard Buddy Hield, sources said.

“They held a series of meetings in the days leading up to camp to analyze the possible Pacers deal from every angle, with the views of Ham and Lakers executives Joey and Jesse Buss also being strongly considered in the process. The organization even delayed the midweek news conference for Pelinka and Ham as the debate continued.”

The Lakers and Pacers talked all summer about a Westbrook-Turner-Hield trade. However, the two sides didn’t make a deal and now Westbrook will start his second season in Los Angeles despite being dangled in trade talks all offseason.

Prospect of Westbrook Being Traded in Coming Weeks & Months Remains Real

Lakers head coach Darvin Ham and general manager Rob Pelinka praised Westbrook during media day. The one-time MVP is set to start at point guard for Los Angeles this season. However, that doesn’t mean he’ll finish the campaign in LA.

“While Westbrook wasn’t traded in the summer like so many across the league expected, league sources tell The Athletic that the prospect of him being traded in the coming weeks and months remains real,” Amick, Charania and Buha reported. “In a perfect world, Westbrook would find his stride with these Lakers, the team would perform at a high level, wins would follow and the franchise would finally show its short- and long-term potential. But a decision to trade him or not would be based on a multitude of factors – not the least of which are his play and his continued willingness to follow through on the plan set forth by first-year coach Darvin Ham. For this storied franchise that wants so desperately to make the most of LeBron James’ twilight years after he signed an extension in mid-August, this is a crucial choice that could determine whether the Lakers return to title contention anytime soon.”

Westbrook started 78 games for the Lakers last season. The nine-time All-Star averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists. The Lakers went 31-47 in Westbrook’s 78 appearances and missed the playoffs.

Among 46 players to take at least 1,000 shots, Westbrook ranked 42nd in true shooting percentage last season. The future Hall of Famer had the sixth-worst effective field goal percentage and was second in the league in turnovers.

James, Westbrook & Davis Committed to Making Big 3 Work

According to a July 18th report from Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis “huddled up on a phone conversation” during the first weekend of Summer League in Las Vegas, with each All-Star expressing their commitment to one another. The conversation was organized to ensure all three players were on the same page.

James, Davis and Westbrook appeared in only 21 games together last season. The Lakers were 11-10 with their three studs on the floor together, a 43-win pace over the course of an 82-game season. James was asked if the Lakers could be successful with Westbrook on the roster during media day and the King didn’t mince words.

“Oh absolutely,” James said. “Absolutely. Look forward to, like I said, being a part of the journey with him this year and it’s gonna be a great year for him and we’re gonna be right there with him. We’re here and it starts tomorrow. It’s all about putting in the work, and when you put in the work, you’ll see the results. So, looking forward to it.”

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