Trade discussions between the Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers have dominated basketball headlines in recent days. The Lakers are trying hard to move former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook, but the Pacers aren’t going to take him off their hands for free. They need to be compensated and right now, the organizations are still trying to work that out.
There have been numerous packages discussed, all of which the Pacers have declined. The Lakers have made proposals with a 2027 first-round pick attached to Westbrook and in another, they attached second-round picks.
Indiana is not interested in that, as they are holding out for a second first-round pick in 2029. Their throughout process is an understandable one, as they want to be compensated for taking on Westbrook and his $47 million contract and for the players involved. Myles Turner and Buddy Hield are the rumored return and the Pacers feel they’re worth a first-round pick themselves.
Thus far, Los Angeles has not been willing to include that second first-round pick. But, the teams are continuing to negotiate and there have been some discussions held that don’t include both Turner and Hield.
According to Marc Stein on his Substack, Hield has been the subject of those talks. But, like with deals centered around Westbrook, figuring out draft compensation isn’t easy.
“It is likewise believed that the teams have discussed a deal focused on Hield, without Turner involved, that would still require the Lakers to furnish draft compensation to Indiana’s liking as part of a package centered around Talen Horton-Tucker.”
Talen Horton-Tucker likely has more value than Westbrook given his age, potential and contract. Only 21, there is plenty of time for him to develop his skill set. He has two seasons remaining on his deal, but the 2023-24 season is a player option.
That could cause some pause for Indiana, as they might have to pay him more than the just over $11 million that he is set to be paid. But, that also means he unlocked that next level of his development, providing Indiana with another building block for the roster.
It would be hard to imagine more than one first-round pick having to be attached to Horton-Tucker, but the Lakers may not want to attach that to him knowing they could need that to move Westbrook. The Indiana Pacers are in no rush to make a deal, as they will wait out the Lakers getting desperate and add a little more of the draft capital they are seeking.
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