Upon getting hired as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, Darvin Ham made it clear that he plans to coach Russell Westbrook this upcoming season. The team has been trying to get off the guard since before the trade deadline but there has been momentum that he stays put for another season. However, that might not necessarily be true.
The Lakers are saying the right things in the media as they have very little leverage in a possible Westbrook trade right now. If opposing teams think that Los Angeles has no problem keeping the guard, then they regain a bit of leverage. Despite what Ham is saying in the media, it appears the Lakers are actively looking for a Westbrook deal.
According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, Los Angeles has already made an offer involving the former MVP to the Indiana Pacers for guard Malcolm Brogdon.
“They’re calling Indiana and saying, ‘how do you feel about Westbrook and Talen Horton-Tucker and our  first-rounder,’ and they just get a nice chuckle and say ‘no thank you, we’ve got better deals on the table than that,'” Givony said “The Lowe Post” podcast.
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This Is a Bold Offer From the Lakers
Unless Givony forget to mention some other aspects of the offer, this was a bold offer from the Lakers. They’d get off two bad contracts in Horton-Tucker and Westbrook to add one in Brogdon. The Pacers can likely do better than a 2027 first-round pick for the guard.
There’s nothing wrong with the Lakers throwing up a hail mary and seeing if they can get lucky but Indiana would never take this offer. Perhaps it would be interesting if Horton-Tucker had a better season but he’s no longer considered a great asset. If the Lakers want Brogdon for Westbrook, they’ll have to sweeten the pot for the Pacers quite a bit.
Pacers Still Among Best Trade Partners for Lakers
The Pacers are ready for a rebuild. They already started selling off assets during the season. Brogdon, Buddy Hield and Myles Turner will likely not be returning to the team next season. All three players are guys the Lakers should be interested in. Last offseason, Hield was almost a Laker before the Westbrook trade became official. There’s no reason to think the team feels less about him now.
A package surrounding Hield and Brogdon for Westbrook would be a huge win for the Lakers. Hield is one of the best shooters in the NBA while Brogdon is a big defensive upgrade over Westbrook. The Lakers would be wise to continue hammering Indiana for a deal. To sweeten the pot, Los Angeles will need to add the 2029 first-round pick to a deal. Westbrook, Horton-Tucker and two first-round picks for Brogdon and Hield should be more appealing to Indiana. The Lakers take off two long-term contracts from Indiana while the Pacers only have Westbrook for one year. Horton-Tucker still has two years left but he’s only 21 and could be an interesting piece for the Pacers to develop.