As coaching camp approaches, and extra and extra of the dialog surrounding Russell Westbrook considerations his position with the Lakers and how he suits with their newly-acquired guards Patrick Beverley and Dennis Schröder, it looks like a fait accompli that Westbrook will at the very least be beginning the season in Los Angeles.
That does not essentially imply that the Lakers have stopped pursuing Westbrook trades, however it does not really feel like their coronary heart is absolutely in it.
One deal that has been mentioned advert nauseum since early within the offseason has been a commerce with Indiana, the essential building of which might deliver again Myles Turner and Buddy Hield for Westbrook and two first-round picks. The Lakers have had curiosity in Turner relationship again to the commerce deadline and virtually made a transfer for Hield final offseasonso it is truly slightly stunning that nothing has occurred on that entrance.
Pacers normal supervisor Chad Buchanan stated Wednesday that he expects Turner to start out the season in Indiana. Reporting from Shams Charania later revealed that this Turner information comes after the Lakers and Pacers re-engaged in commerce talks inside the previous week, however no ahead momentum got here from these discussions:
“I’m advised the Lakers and Pacers did interact in some commerce conversations this week and the Pacers’ demand for 2 unprotected first-round picks … is simply not interesting for the Lakers.”
— The Rally (@TheRally) September 21, 2022
“I’m advised the Lakers and Pacers did interact in some commerce conversations this week and the Pacers’ demand for 2 unprotected first-round picks has not modified all through the summer season for any deal that features Buddy Hield and Myles Turner. And right now such as you stated Chad Buchanan the Pacers GM got here out and stated that they anticipate Myles Turner to start out the season with the group at middle. And that two first-round decide value is simply not interesting for the Lakers.
“And proper now, they’ll be very cautious, I believe, of their method that they’ll take going into the season. There’s a protracted runway with Russell Westbrook this group has. They can see how the group begins, they’ve up till the commerce deadline, he’s on an expiring contract. The Lakers’ mindset, I’m advised, is that they notice that it is a very vital bullet that they are gonna have to make use of, if you have a look at two unprotected first-round picks, they need to outing precisely when does it make sense to make a commerce like this. Right now, this Pacers bundle of Buddy Hield and Myles Turner shouldn’t be what they’re prepared to commerce two first spherical picks for.”
The Lakers have held agency of their resistance to incorporate each the 2027 and 2029 unprotected first-round picks in a commerce, particularly if the return doesn’t make the group a no brainer contender. The “lengthy runway” that Charania mentions with Westbrook looks like a ploy by the Lakers to fabricate some leverage to allow them to retain a few of their draft capital. The drawback is that leverage is barely created if Westbrook performs nicely, and if the Lakers believed he was able to that degree of play on this roster, they would not be making an attempt to maneuver him.
While the Indiana commerce is on ice, the Lakers’ different favored commerce targets in Utah additionally seem unlikely to make their solution to Los Angeles. The Lakers have their eyes on Bojan Bogdanović first and foremost, but in addition Jordan Clarkson.
For now, Bogdanović seems to be out of LA’s value vary. Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune wrote Wednesday, “A supply near Bogdanović tells the Tribune that he expects to be traded quickly.” The solely participant Bogdanović could possibly be traded for is Westbrook, and Utah will solely do a Westbrook deal that nets two Lakers picks, in order that commerce is not taking place with Los Angeles. Larsen additionally studies that Clarkson will probably be beginning the season to meet a job as a veteran who might help “put the group on the perfect footing”.
In principle, deadlines ought to create motion, and the beginning of coaching camp ought to have been the motivator for the Lakers, and a variety of different groups, to finalize their 2022-23 rosters. As it stands, nobody’s making any strikes. The Lakers need to hope that they are not the one group to remorse that call, and that some entrance workplace will come knocking shortly to revisit a deal that ought to have been achieved through the offseason.
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