The rumor mill has cooled off lately, but the Indiana Pacers still have their trade deadline fate somehow connected to the Los Angeles Lakers’ plans this season. While the latter has improved in recent weeks, they are still pretty far from contention, making a trade just as necessary as it is apparent.
On the Pacers’ side, while a trade with the Lakers is far from an imperative thing, given both teams’ situations (pressure to win for LA and potential flight risks for Indiana), engaging them on a potential deal sounds pretty reasonable. There’s been a lot of noise pointing to that, but one prominent figure in Los Angeles could throw a curveball on that front.
Lakers owner Jeanie Buss could be enemy No. 1 for the Indiana Pacers
Trust me, Indiana is far from thirsty for a trade with the Lakers just to yield to public and popular demand, which has always been corroborated by their high asking prices for LA’s reported targets such as Myles Turner and Buddy Hield.
However, it seems like the Lakers are assuming the same robe, as Lakers owner and president Jeanie Buss has reportedly indicated multiple times that trading away future assets to bolster the current roster is not a desired route for the front office — a bold and completely left-of-center stance given LeBron James’ still-tremendous play and the team’s much improved play even with Anthony Davis out due to injury.
To be honest, that rings a symphony in Pacers fans’ ears, as many have expressed disdain — some to the point of sheer disgust — at dealing with LA’s marginal assets, save for their first-round selections in 2027 and 2029 which Indiana’s brass has long desired as unprotected returns for their veterans.
But with the team struggling so much lately with Tyrese Haliburton injured, there could be more impetus now for the Pacers to approach trade deadline with less resistance and more willingness to take risks — risks that could involve them finally liquidating a flight risk or two, such as Turner, who has reportedly jettisoned Indiana’s extension offers so far.
The association is made up of 29 other teams, but why are the Lakers so prominently talked about in all these? Well, in view of the previously mentioned “situations”, LA, among other potential suitors, has a more urgent need for what the Pacers have on deck while having a loose grip on their assets due to public — and superstar-driven — pressure.
Still, a framework for a potential trade between both teams — one that could see the Pacers extract the most out of a flight risk and the Lakers acquire a well-fitting veteran that can help bolster their postseason case — could be pretty unlikely as long as Jeanie Buss and her camp keep up their stoic face on the matter.