Before the NBA season unofficially kicked off with Media Day last week, the Los Angeles Lakers seriously considered trading Russell Westbrook with their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks to the Indiana Pacers for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, according to The Athletic.
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said last week the club would look to trade both draft picks after signing LeBron James to an extension.
The Lakers brass — including Pelinka, head coach Darvin Ham, and executives Joey and Jesse Buss — had a series of meetings leading up to training camp regarding a trade with the Pacers, but could not come to a consensus, according to The Athletic.
Pelinka ultimately decided to stand pat, hoping the team could find a way to make the Westbrook experiment work after a disastrous 2021-22 season, but The Athletic reports the possibility of a trade in the coming weeks and months "remains real."
One player the Lakers have reportedly shown interest in acquiring in the past is Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving, but The Athletic reports he is not in their long-term plans.
The Lakers finished with a 33-49 record last season, once again missing the playoffs with James on the roster. Westbrook averaged 18.5 points, his lowest total since his sophomore season, and shot 29.8 per cent from three-point range. The 33-year-old, nine-time all-star is in the final year of his contract, where he'll earn $47 million.
James and fellow Lakers superstar Anthony Davis have both shown public support for finding a way to build better chemistry with Westbrook in the upcoming season.