Here’s The Russell Westbrook Trade The Pacers Should Try To Make

Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

The NBA offseason arguably draws more attention than the games themselves during the regular season. Fans are enamored with seeing which players will move where and who their favorite team will add to the roster.

This offseason there won’t be any shortage of player movement. Because of the lack of projected cap space for teams, we could actually see a lot more trades completed as it is the only avenue some teams will have to upgrade their roster.

One team that will be looking to make some deals this offseason is the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers fell well short of expectations during the 2021-22 season, failing to even qualify for the NBA Play-In Tournament despite being the favorites to win the NBA Finals in June.

The acquisition of Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards really set them back. They surrendered multiple assets to acquire him, handcuffing the moves that could be made to fill out the roster. Looking to hit the reset button on that deal, hypothetical Westbrook trades have been occurring for weeks already.

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One team that has been mentioned as a potential landing spot is the Indiana Pacers. Indiana is in a rebuild and looking to compile as many assets as they can to set the foundation of their roster.

While they have no use for Westbrook themselves, the assets that could come with him would be of interest to them. In this hypothetical trade scenario, they would acquire two from the Los Angeles Lakers.

Westbrook, Talen Horton-Tucker, and a 2027 first-round pick would be sent to Indiana in exchange for Malcolm Brogdon and T.J. McConnell. For Indiana, this trade would clear a ton of future salary cap, as Brogdon and McConnell are both under contract for three more seasons. Horton-Tucker could be an expiring deal, as he has a player option for the 2022-23 season.

The future first-round pick is a valuable asset as no one knows what Los Angeles’ future holds. Right now, it looks very bleak. A buyout with Westbrook could also be reached as the Indiana Pacers will embrace the rebuild they have going on.

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For Los Angeles, they are upgrading in a major way at the point guard position. Brogdon is an excellent fit alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis with his playmaking and 3-point shooting and brings versatility to the defensive end. McConnell is also an excellent playmaker and defender.

However, both come with injury concerns, which the Los Angeles Lakers already have plenty of. But, beggars can’t be choosers. The market for Russell Westbrook won’t be robust. Brogdon and McConnell may be the best that they can do, but both would instantly upgrade a Lakers rotation in need of some improvements.