It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Lakers were shopping Russell Westbrook during the offseason, though the former MVP remains with L.A. as the season approaches. Did a deal ever come close to materializing?
According to a report from The Athletic , the Lakers were actually quite close to trading Westbrook to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner.
Per the report from Shams Charania, Sam Amick and Jovan Buha, Lakers general manager and VP of basketball operations Rob Pelinka, Jeanie Buss and senior basketball adviser Kurt Rambis “seriously considered” dealing Westbrook along with unprotected first-round draft picks in 2027 and 2029. From the sound of it, the Pacers were one of the most likely suitors to land Westbrook as rumors swirled in the offseason that the triple-double machine was on the move.
“They held a series of meetings in the days leading up to camp to analyze the possible Pacers deal from every angle, with the views of [Darvin] Ham and Lakers executives Joey and Jesse Buss also being strongly considered in the process,” the report states. “The organization even delayed the midweek news conference for Pelinka and Ham as the debate continued.”
Of course, Westbrook is still in Southern California rocking a Lakers jersey. According to the report, it was Pelinka’s call to “remain patient” with Westbrook — although it’s fair to wonder if a deal simply fell through at the last minute.
Now, it’s just a matter of whether that patience will be rewarded. Westbrook is coming off a very rough first season in L.A. highlighted by diminished stats and drama with teammates.
The Lakers kick off their preseason on Monday night against the visiting Sacramento Kings.