Reports throughout the summer suggested that the Los Angeles Lakers might try to replace guard Russell Westbrook to balance their roster. The Indiana Pacers have a salary cap room, a desire for more assets, and veterans that the Lakers were previously interested in.
As a result, the two teams felt like natural business partners in a potential Westbrook deal. But negotiations on such a trade are tough, given the motives of both teams, and there are several reasons why a deal between the two franchises won’t happen until something changes.
Bob Kravitz reported on the athlete That Indiana and Los Angeles had business talks about Westbrook — the full proposal included the former MVP and 2027 first-round pick headed to Indiana while Buddy Hield and Myles Turner traveled to Los Angeles.
Kravitz described such a commercial building as “currently dead,” in July. Michael Scott hoops She mentioned that a slightly modified deal was discussed as well – a deal that included the same players but also included a 2029 first-round pick and Tallinn Horton Tucker went to the Pacers while Daniel Theiss was moving to the Lakers.
These two rumored suggestions sum up the difficulties of any potential Lakers-Pacers trade involving Russell Westbrook: Los Angeles wants to keep some of the available first-round draft picks, but Indiana wants as many assets as possible if they’re going to take in big Westbrook. Contract – Set to earn $47 million in 2022-23.
Indiana is well below the salary cap, which is the minimum total salary an NBA team must pay over the course of a season. They have plenty of salary cap room to accommodate the Westbrook deal without sending out similar contracts in return – something that is often required in other deals. The Pacers position is unique from a trading perspective.
The franchise has moved from one era to another in recent months. This pivot led to them making long-term deals, they got first-round picks going forward (Cleveland and Boston in 2023) and several young players (Galen Smith, Aaron Nesmith, Therese Halliburton) in the deals while keeping their paychecks. Clean sheet cover. The Pacers team is looking for the assets and flexibility to set themselves up for long-term success.
Meanwhile, the Lakers have essentially opposing goals. With LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the list, purple and gold have championship aspirations. However, last season, they won only 33 games and missed the post-season. Los Angeles is looking to get better – much better – next season.
Moving Westbrook and acquiring shareholders in the same deal would help Los Angeles make that happen. The 2017 Player of the Year was a poor fit with the Lakers, and the team had a three-point lead per 100 possessions with Westbrook more on the bench than on the field. Many see the Lakers trading Westbrook as an addition by subtraction.
Talent acquisition for Westbrook is the goal of General Manager Rob Pelinka. And the Lakers, even before this season, had prior interest in Pacers veteran Miles Turner and Buddy Heald. From a 1,000-foot standpoint, the Pacers Lakers framework makes sense.
Digging into the details makes creating a tradeoff more difficult. First and foremost, motivating the team to take on Westbrook’s massive contract is a requirement for the Lakers in any deal. The double-double machine does not fit into many of the team’s goals for the 2022-23 season given his current talent level, salary and ability to connect with other players, so his contract is seen as a major negative. To send him to another team, the Lakers will likely have to include an asset as a local.
Meanwhile, Indiana placed a high value on Turner in previous business discussions. Hield is the newer Pesser, so his value to the franchise is less clear, but he put his career best numbers on for the team after taking him over in February. However, his poor defense and hefty hold make him an asset of neutral value, at best.
Turner and Held combined, without the participation of any other players or selectors, are seen as net worth at least One draft from the first round. And given how much Pacers are like Turner, it could take longer than that.
Using these value selections – a first-round pick required for the Lakers to trade away from Westbrook, and a first-round pick was necessary to get Hield and Turner – a trade involving those three would seem to require the Lakers to send the Pacers first-round. Draft shots.
In a vacuum, this sounds like a viable bargain. Both teams are achieving their goals. But there are complications that create a barrier between that trade and reality.
From the Lakers’ perspective, dealing with draft picks is risky. They sent many picks to New Orleans in the Anthony Davis trade in 2019, which means they can’t currently trade any of their first-round picks outside of their 2027 and 2029 picks. If they had to deal with both first-round picks they could move in more favorably. legal, they will then have limited assets to further improve their team in future deals. That’s probably unattractive for a franchise trying to win with aging LeBron James, although maximizing the roster for the upcoming season has some value.
Plus, Los Angeles could have plenty of room in the off season next season, and Hield’s contract spans two more seasons. Having an elite outdoor shooter will limit the team’s flexibility in Free Agency for 2023.
For the Pacers, Westbrook will have little or no value on the court. Therese Halliburton, a promising young player, plays the same position and has a huge role in his path. Westbrook takes minutes and opportunities to develop from 22 years. In a smaller team hoping to develop 12 players under the age of 26 this season, Westbrook will be a decent fit at best. The guard will burn a huge hole in the Pacers’ wallets all season long with his limited franchise value.
Additionally, the Pacers have to consider the opportunity cost of moving Hield and Turner into this hypothetical deal. Executing a trade-off with the Lakers means the Pacers cannot trade Turner for a different franchise. Can blue and gold get more value for a pair of veterans than another team? What if they are traded individually? After missing the final three months of last season, a strong start to the 2022-23 campaign could boost Turner’s value. The Pacers will need to make sure they maximize the value of Hield and Turner in this move.
The trade also removes value in the playing field for blue and gold veterans. For a franchise that never ended, that could be important.
When the motives of both teams are magnified, it becomes more difficult to imagine the trade. For this reason, according to hoopsIn reports, the deal was expanded to include other pieces – Horton Tucker and Thess – that changed every team’s perceived comeback.
Horton Tucker has since been dealt to Utah, and cannot be in any trade between the Lakers and Pacers now. But there are other ways the two teams can negotiate if they are closed to making this framework a reality.
The team’s biggest negotiating tool is the choice of safeguards. Draft picks can be traded with protections – for example, if a rolling selection is protected from 1 to 5, the team that sent the away pick will keep said draft pick if its record makes the pick in the top 5. Otherwise, it will be traded. Where the selection is protected, there is often a secondary agreement in effect if the selection is not carried over (eg, if the protected selection ends up from the top 5 as the 4th public pick, then two groups from the second round are sent instead).
The pick can be handled without any protection, which means that no matter where it lands in the draft, it is traded. Choices like this have incredible value, as demonstrated this season in deals featuring Rudy Gobert, DeJewunt Murray and Donovan Mitchell.
The Pacers theoretically want as many shots from the Lakers as possible, and they want those shots to be unprotected. On the other hand, the Lakers want to trade as few selections as possible with strong protection. This could be an area where teams are negotiating and getting close to making a deal. Perhaps choosing the first round which is completely unprotected and the other with strong protection is a happy medium for the two franchises.
Choosing swaps can change the calculus of the transaction, too. Teams are allowed to trade swap rights in a draft — for example, the Lakers could offer the Pacers swap rights in the first round of the 2028 NBA draft. In this scenario, if the Lakers ended up with a better first-round pick than the Pacers in 2028, the teams could Flip the draw holes in the first round. If the Pacers end up with a better draft, they can choose not to switch positions. This flexibility has value and can be useful in exchange.
Another way teams can change the total value that is being transferred is by adding other contracts. hoops It reported that Indiana tried to close the deal with the newly acquired Daniel Theiss Center, for example. Theis has two guaranteed years left on his contract totaling just under $18 million, but he doesn’t have an obvious role in Indiana. If the Pacers see that liquidating that money from their books is valuable, Theiss could change the overall value of the deal. But remember, the Lakers don’t want a long-term paycheck.
TJ McConnell could have a contract that would display similarly to Theis in this scenario. But he’s playing a more visible role with the Pacers next year, and possibly beyond.
Another thing to consider – could the Pacers include some of their young players to encourage the Lakers to make it easier to choose protection? It can be a unique way to balance trade. For example – if Aaron Nesmith or Goga Petadze, two former top 20 picks, were included in the deal, would Los Angeles be more willing to trade the poorly protected picks?
One last way the two teams can negotiate directly is to include monetary considerations. In the event that Indiana and Westbrook want to execute a buyout deal after deal, having more cash available could be beneficial for the Pacers. The Lakers can send in as much as $6.3 million in a deal for as low as just over $100,000. This amount can be negotiated.
If none of these tweaks — opting for protection, swaps, overtime, younger players, or cash — don’t seal the deal, the Lakers and Pacers will likely have to change the entire frame. Would taking Turner out of the deal, for example, work? After that, the framework will depend on Westbrook, Hield and any other assets the teams decide to exchange. This could be a happy broker that improves both teams without hurting LA’s business resilience in the future.
Perhaps Hield can be removed from the deal so the Lakers won’t take any long-term paycheck. How willing would Los Angeles be to include it, in terms of choices, in such a scenario? That would give the Pacers a significant return in assets for Turner, but this might not be the best time to move on the 26-year-old mega man. Indiana will leave fewer high-value veterans for future deals.
Each changed trading scenario features some added solutions and some added barriers. This presents several obstacles that the Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers will have to clear up if they return to trade talks. Perhaps a third team putting more value on certain pieces included in the deal helps balance things out, but such a deal becomes too complex to predict.
Either way, with great salaries, great property success and ever-value, and a former MVP, negotiations between the Lakers and Pacers are tough. Something might have to change in order to get a deal, like a slow start to the season from the Lakers or an injury to the Pacers. Any deal that could eventually happen would require careful discussions and mediators – otherwise, both teams could be better off looking for deals elsewhere.