Is a Westbrook to Pacers trade now more imminent after this latest Lakers move?

Myles Turner, Russell Westbrook - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Myles Turner, Russell Westbrook - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Trade rumors between the Indiana Pacers and the Los Angeles Lakers have slowed down before the training camp began. Following a tedious and admittedly exhausting barrage of news on that front, both teams seemed content to at least begin the 2022-23 season with what they have on the table.

However, recent developments within the Lakers brass may forcibly open that closing door once more. Centered on maligned star Russell Westbrook, the Purple and Gold may now be keener than ever to finally break a well-documented misfit.

A Russell Westbrook trade to the Indiana Pacers may now be more imminent following the Lakers’ latest decision

Newly installed head coach Darvin Ham has shown an inclination to try and piece together an obviously ill-fitting LA Lakers squad, a stance shared by the team’s management in hopes of opening more finance and asset leeway for the long-term. One solution seemingly brewing in the woods: bringing Russell Westbrook off the bench.

In their last preseason game against the Sacramento Kings, the former league MVP played with the second unit, nabbing a board, missing two three-pointers, and coughing up the ball twice before exiting the game with a hamstring injury.

Ham calls this move a “realignment” instead of a demotion, and while they certainly did not see enough to make a more permanent call, this could not be a positive sign for any hopes of revitalizing his Lakers career.

Hence, this may be the prime impetus for LA to come back to the trading block—and have a bit more desperation by deciding to yield and realize that they do not have much bargaining power. This is where the Indiana Pacers come in, as they have been the only club so far to show a degree of tolerance to any Westbrook trade—for the right price.

However, this could also be an opportunity for the Blue and Gold to capitalize on the brewing jumble in LA and negotiate more to their advantage. Myles Turner and Buddy Hield have repeatedly been named as ideal Lakers trade prospects, but in addition to the two, unprotected first-round picks desired by Indiana, the Pacers could try and snag another wanted piece as the price for absorbing Westbrook and the attendant financial and general headaches that such situation will bring about.

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