Russell Westbrook trade rumors: Pacers deal died due to Lakers refusing to include first-round picks

The Los Angeles Lakers have engaged the Indiana Pacers in trade talks involving a swap of Russell Westbrook for Miles Turner and Buddy Heald, but those discussions are now dead because the Lakers refused to include a second-round pick, according to The Athletic.

While the Lakers will be willing to field one of their available first-round picks, specifically the 2027 pick, the Pacers believe they should get two of them – one for the trouble of getting a Westbrook contract and the other for Turner and saves.

The Lakers’ reluctance to send future draft assets is nothing new. At last season’s deadline, they reportedly turned down an opportunity to swap Westbrook for John Wall because they didn’t want an option attached to the deal. These, however, are the most detailed we’ve got regarding a potential Westbrook deal this summer.

Earlier this month, Westbrook, as expected, picked the final year of his $47.1 million contract. While the front office and coaching staff were honest with Westbrook about his need for him to adjust his role, they were supportive in public.

“We love everyone on our roster,” new coach Darvin Hamm said during a Lakers summer league game. “And so that you’re not on our list, you’re on our list, and we’ll try to improve our group. That’s the bottom line of that.”

while appearing on all smoke On a podcast earlier this month, Hamm was more direct: “I’m happy to coach Ross. They tried to get rid of Ross, that was one of the things that got me excited about this job. He and I have had a great relationship since I took the job, man” .

But behind the scenes, the Lakers are clearly working to trade it off. In addition to these recent rumors about the Pacers, there has been a lot of discussion about the A possible deal includes the Brooklyn Nets and Kyrie Irving (Although it’s hard to see why the nets would agree.) There was also a little intel from Dave McMenamin on the latest Lowe Post Podcast with Zack Lowe: “Small sample size last year with Ross, but it’s very clear that LeBron has seen enough and has no interest in entering another year with Ross as his teammate.”

It’s no surprise that the Lakers are trying to move Westbrook. Getting him didn’t make sense in the first place and he went even worse than expected in his first season with the club. While Westbrook certainly wasn’t the Lakers’ only problem, he fit terribly alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, plus he played a key role in the team’s finish 21st in defense. Despite the organization’s best efforts, Westbrook appears unwilling to change his approach, and it’s hard to imagine that any of last season’s problems will suddenly disappear this season.

Other teams are well aware of Westbrook’s shortcomings and his huge contract, which makes trading him difficult. For now, it’s entirely reasonable that the Lakers would want to defer the transfer of each of their first-round picks, which are their best trading assets, in a deal other than Irving. Even if there were risks involved in getting the previous All-Star, and the chance of a deal struck is slim, his upside is so great that it makes sense to wait until his status is somehow resolved.

At some point, though, the Lakers may have to accept that the Turner and Hield package is the best they can do for Westbrook. And while attaching several first-round picks would be a heavy price to pay, they may have to smash the bullet in order to maximize the last few seasons of James’ career.

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