When he was hired as the Los Angeles Lakers head coach, Darvin Ham made it clear that he plans to coach Russell Westbrook next season. The team has been trying to break cover before the trade deadline, but there has been impetus for him staying there for another season. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.
The Lakers are saying all the right things in the media as they currently have very little leverage over a potential Westbrook trade. When opposing teams think Los Angeles has no problem holding cover, they regain some leverage. Despite what Ham says in the media, the Lakers appear to be actively looking for a Westbrook deal.
According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, Los Angeles have already made an offer to the Indiana Pacers with former guard MVP Malcolm Brogdon.
“They call Indiana and say, ‘How do you feel about Westbrook and Talen Horton-Tucker and ours  First round’, and they just get a nice giggle and say, ‘No thanks, we have better deals on the table,'” Givony said on The Lowe Post podcast.
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If Givony doesn’t forget to mention some other aspects of the offer, it was a bold offer from the Lakers. They would get two bad deals at Horton-Tucker and Westbrook to add one at Brogdon. The Pacers can likely do better than a 2027 first-round pick for the guard.
There’s nothing wrong with the Lakers throwing up a Hail Mary and see if they’re lucky, but Indiana would never take up that offer. Maybe it would be interesting if Horton-Tucker had a better season, but he’s no longer considered a big win. If the Lakers want Brogdon for Westbrook, they’re going to have to sweeten the pot quite a bit for the Pacers.
The Pacers are ready for a rebuild. They already started selling assets during the season. Brogdon, Buddy Hield and Myles Turner are unlikely to return to the team next season. All three players are guys the Lakers should be interested in. Last offseason, Hield was nearly a laker before the Westbrook trade became official. There’s no reason to think the team feels less for him now.
A package around Hield and Brogdon for Westbrook would be a big win for the Lakers. Hield is one of the best shooters in the NBA, while Brogdon is a huge defensive upgrade over Westbrook. The Lakers would be wise to keep pushing Indiana for a deal. To sweeten the pot, Los Angeles must add the 2029 first-round pick to a deal. Westbrook, Horton-Tucker, and two first-round picks for Brogdon and Hield should be more attractive for Indiana. The Lakers land two long-term deals from Indiana while the Pacers only have Westbrook on a year. Horton-Tucker has two years left, but he’s only 21 and could be an interesting play for the Pacers’ development.
CONTINUE READING: Darvin Ham has a strong reaction to the recent Anthony Davis controversy