The Pacers may be the perfect trade partner for the Lakers as they look to get rid of Russell Westbrook but Indiana wants more than LA has offered so far.
The Lakers have a problem on their hands and the Pacers aren’t going to be overly generous to help them fix it.
LeBron James reportedly wants the team to bring Kyrie Irving to Los Angeles in place of Russell Westbrook. The Nets want more than the Lakers may be willing to give and now that Westbrook is on the outs, getting rid of his massive contract has to be the goal.
Doing so is proving quite difficult.
Pacers turn down Lakers latest attempt to ditch Russell Westbrook
According to Bob Kravitz of The Athletic, the Lakers offered a trade package including Russell Westbrook and a first-round draft pick for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield but the Pacers turned it down because they want another first-round pick included in the deal.
In another universe, the idea that a team would have to trade Westbrook and two firsts to get Turner and Hield would be unthinkable. But that’s the position the Lakers find themselves in.
The teams most interested in talking about Westbrook at this point aren’t the ones looking for a boost for the playoffs. Like the Pacers, they are the ones set to blow things up and get as much back in return as possible.
Indiana certainly doesn’t sound interested in doing Los Angeles a favor by taking Westbrook off their hands without getting significant draft capital back.
Westbrook is coming off one of his worst seasons in years at 33 years old. He averaged just 18.5 points, sub-20 points per game for the first time since 2009-10. His rebounds and assists were down to 7.4 and 7.1 per game respectively. He shot 44.4 percent from the field and 29.8 percent from beyond the arc, frustrating fans in Los Angeles with poor shot selection. His Player Efficiency Rating was 15.0, the worst in his career.