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The Los Angeles Lakers discussed sending Russell Westbrook and Talen Horton-Tucker to the Indiana Pacers in trade talks, with Malcolm Brogdon mentioned as a possible return, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported Tuesday on The Lowe Post podcast (1:47:10 mark).
The talks reportedly went nowhere.
The Lakers are looking to bounce back in 2022-23 after finishing 11th in the Western Conference with a 33-49 record. The Pacers are in rebuilding mode after going 25-57 last year.
On the surface, it wouldn’t make much sense for the Pacers to take Westbrook.
Tyrese Haliburton, whom Indiana acquired from the Sacramento Kings before the February trade deadline, looks like a future star to build around. The 22-year-old guard broke out when given the chance with 17.5 points and 9.6 assists per game.
Acquiring Westbrook, who has one year left on his deal, would seemingly get in the way of Haliburton being the floor leader of this team.
As for the Lakers, they tried a failed experiment with a Big Three of Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
While the team is open to trading Westbrook, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, his $47.1 million player option could make things difficult. New head coach Darvin Ham has also spoken about Westbrook’s possible role in 2022-23.
Westbrook is one year removed from averaging a triple-double with the Washington Wizards, so he could have something left in the tank even if he just went through a tough season.
Ultimately, he’s probably best-suited on a contending team that can give him the opportunity to bounce back after an off year, and the Pacers aren’t a fit as they look to build themselves back up.