Lakers Make Final Call on Potential Pacers Trade

Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers

It looks like the Los Angeles Lakers have decided to call time on their pursuit of Myles Turner and Buddy Hield, in large part due to the Indiana Pacers’ commitment to wanting two first-round draft picks in return.

According to The Atheltic’s Shams Charania, who was speaking on a September 21 episode of The Rally, the Lakers are unwilling to part with two future first-round picks in any potential trade with the Pacers, and as such, have distanced themselves from negotiations.

“The two first-round pick price is just not appealing for the Lakers, and right now, they’re going to be very prudent with the approach they’re going to take. There’s a long runway with Russell Westbrook, they can see how this team starts, they have until the trade deadline, he is on an expiring contract.

And the Lakers mindset, I’m told, they realize this is a significant bullet that they’re going to have to use. When you look at two unprotected first-round picks, they have to time out when exactly it makes sense to make a trade. Right now, a package of Buddy Hield and Myles Turner is not what they’re willing to trade two first-round picks for,” Charania explained.

It would seem the Lakers have now removed themselves from trade discussions with both the Utah Jazz and Pacers in recent weeks, and now, will likely enter the season with their current roster and look to figure things out before deciding what their next steps will be.

Westbrook Expected to be a Starter This Season

In a September 19 episode of ESPN’s NBA Today, Ramona Shelburne reported that the Lakers are expected to keep Westbrook as their starting point guard to begin the season – further strengthening the notion that he is likely to see out the final year of his deal with Los Angeles.

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“From what I understand now, they still see Russell Westbrook as a starter. He’s a former MVP. He’s given that respect. Everyone’s gonna compete for jobs. … Russell Westbrook is the starter there,” Shelburne said.

Despite all the criticism levied at Westbrook towards the end of last season, and throughout the summer, the superstar guard was one of the Lakers’ most consistent performers last season – especially from a health standpoint.

In 78 regular-season games, Westbrook averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per game, while boasting a 47.6% effective field goal rating. Of course, if the California native wants to become an impactful member of the rotation in the coming season, he will need to embrace an off-ball role a little more, as to provide enough spacing for LeBron James and Anthony Davis to get to work in the paint.

Nina Westbrook Fires Cryptic Shot At Lakers

As the Lakers season began to unfold last year, Westbrook was the source of frustration for swathes of fans and some of the national media, leading to him feeling disrespected and his relationship with the fan base deteriorating.

As the summer has worn on, Westbrook’s name has been ubiquitous with the Lakers and trade rumors – something which can again be deemed as insulting or disrespectful. As such, it came as no surprise when Westbrook’s wife, Nina, took to social media to share her thoughts, however cryptic they may have been.

“Bottle of water can be a dollar at a supermarket, $3 at the gym, $5 at the movies, $6 on a plane, and $10 on vacation. Same water. The only thing that changed its value was the place. So the next time you feel your worth is nothing, maybe you’re at the wrong place,” Nina Westbrook posted.

It will be interesting to see how Westbrook’s relationship with the Lakers fanbase and the wider media develops in the coming season because if he becomes an integral part of their rotation, it will lead to some interesting dynamics to start the year.

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