The LA Lakers were repeatedly linked to the Indiana Pacers as possible trade suitors for Russell Westbrook this offseason. Even though nothing significant has happened, the door hasn't been completely closed by either team.
The LA Lakers have tried their best to upgrade their roster during the offseason. While they have made changes to replace the older players they signed the previous year, their moves aren't really worthy of attention.
Before the 2021-22 campaign, the Lakers were interested in trading multiple players for Buddy Hield. This was to address their lack of a reliable shooter from the perimeter. However, their plans changed when both LeBron James and Anthony Davis pushed hard on trading for Russell Westbrook.
With Westbrook, people thought that the doors had closed in getting Hield, especially after he was dealt to the Pacers by the Sacramento Kings. But it looks like the Pacers are still interested as they have reportedly been in talks with the LA Lakers.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, both the Lakers and the Pacers have engaged in trade talks involving multiple players and picks. The Lakers aren't impressed with the Pacers' demands regarding the two first-round picks. They will instead wait it out until the trade deadline.
"I'm told the Lakers and Pacers did engage in some trade conversations this week and the Pacers' demand for two unprotected first-round picks," Charania said, "...That two first-round pick price is just not appealing for the Lakers."
"The Lakers, they've realized that this is a very significant bullet that they're gonna have to use. When you look at two unprotected first-round picks, they have to time out exactly when does it make sense to make a trade like this. Right now, this Pacers' package of Buddy Hield and Myles Turner is not what they're willing to trade two first-round picks for."
The LA Lakers will be on the lookout as to how they'll be able to use the picks that the Pacers demanded at the trade deadline. One thing that people should closely watch is Russell Westbrook's involvement in the trade rumors.
The LA Lakers have learned their lesson in trading their future picks
When LeBron James joined the LA Lakers in 2018, the team immediately transformed from a rebuilding team to a contender. While it wasn't a quick change, the team took significant steps in getting to that status.
The team missed the playoffs during James' first season, which prompted major changes in the 2019 offseason. They Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and multiple future picks in exchange for Anthony Davis. It paid off as they won the 2020 NBA championship in the Orlando Bubble.
But due to fatigue, they were eliminated in the 2021 playoffs by the Phoenix Suns. After that, they decided to add another star and traded multiple players and future picks for Westbrook.
Now, the LA Lakers have learned their lesson and are holding out in trading the assets that the Indiana Pacers are demanding.