Could Pacers Be Potential Trade Suitor For Russell Westbrook?

Russell Westbrook, Indiana Pacers, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

It didn’t seem as if things could get any uglier for the Los Angeles Lakers, as they aren’t playing any games. The league is on break for a few days as the NBA All-Star Weekend went down in Cleveland. While it was a fun experience for most fans, Lakers fans come out feeling worse than they did going in.

LeBron James made some headline-grabbing comments, as he didn’t close the door on returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a third stint. He also made the end of his career plans clear, as he wants to finish his career playing with his son, Bronny James. Praise as also heaped onto Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti.

Many people took the Presti praise as a shot at Lakers general manager, Rob Pelinka. It was recently revealed that there is some friction building between the front office and Klutch Sports, who represents James.

Klutch was disappointed no moves were made ahead of the deadline, as they wanted the Lakers to trade Russell Westbrook and a first-round pick for John Wall, another Klutch client. That relationship is at a low point and the ranchise needs to figure some things out as a result.

LATEST NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: LeBron James’ Agency “Not Happy” With Lakers For Westbrook Trade Stance

James is eligible for a two-year extension on August 4th, which would lock him in through the 2024-25 season. If that isn’t something that occurs, James will be a free agent in 2023. It would not be a surprise if he signed a one-year deal after that, as Bronny is eligible for the 2024 NBA Draft right now.

For the Los Angeles Lakers, this is not an ideal situation to be in. Things have not worked out when it comes to the Westbrook trade, so something needs to happen on that front. Repairing the relationship with Klutch is key to retaining James and this is a roster in need of an overhaul.

The front office can shop Russell Westbrook again this offseason and it could find more takers as he will be an expiring deal. Would the Lakers be willing to take on long-term deals to fill out the rotation even if it means eating away at the cap space they had built for the 2023 offseason?

LATEST NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: LeBron James’ Agency “Not Happy” With Lakers For Westbrook Trade Stance

If they do not do that, they will risk losing James for nothing in free agency. They have to avoid that, so trading Russell Westbrook may be the route to take. One team to keep an eye on, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, is the Indiana Pacers.

“Are the Indiana Pacers going to turn over more of their veteran roster? Players like Malcolm Brogdon and Hield have large, multiyear deals that may not fit the Pacers’ restructuring. Westbrook, along with at least a first-round pick (possibly a pair in 2027 and 2029), might be attractive. Indiana could keep Westbrook for the season or buy him out to develop younger guards like Tyrese Haliburton and Chris Duarte. That’s the kind of move the Lakers might need to pursue if James commits to staying.”

LATEST NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: LeBron James’ Agency “Not Happy” With Lakers For Westbrook Trade Stance

Bringing on players such as Malcolm Brogdon and Buddy Hield would certainly help the Lakers turn things around. They are much better fits alongside James and Anthony Davis, as Brogdon is a solid two-way combo guard and Hield is one of the best shooters in the NBA.

Adding long-term salary shouldn’t be off the table if the team can lock in an extension with James. As long as he is on the roster, they will be in win-now mode, attempting to contend for a title. A move with a team such as the Indiana Pacers would help them move closer to that goal of winning a championship as this current Los Angeles Lakers roster isn’t built to contend.