As we approach the back half of July, the NBA offseason slows from its furious early pace to a crawl as team executives, players, and agents all turn one eye towards vacation. With the initial pressure of getting deals done immediately gone and two months until training camp comes into focus, there’s just not much driving deals and trades at this point in the calendar.
Still, there are some teams desperate enough to continue making phone calls and trying to engage in trade talks as they know they don’t want to arrive at camp with the roster as is. The team at the top of that list is the Los Angeles Lakers, who still have a number of open roster spots and don’t seem to want to commit to rounding out their roster until they know whether they’ll have to go into the season with Russell Westbrook as their starting point guard or not.
While the league awaits any kind of indication that the Nets are going to budge from their asking price on Kevin Durant (and, subsequently, Kyrie Irving), the Lakers are looking elsewhere for a chance to bolster their rotation. According to Dave McMenamin, they have recently “reengaged” on talks with the Pacers about Buddy Hield, with two potential routes they could take to try and pry the sharpshooter out of Indiana, one being a smaller Talen Horton-Tucker focused package or a larger Russell Westbrook deal that would also look to bring Myles Turner to L.A.
.@mcten on the latest trade rumors surrounding the Lakers 👀
“There has been some talks reengaged between the Lakers and the Indiana Pacers that would center around a Buddy Hield deal.” pic.twitter.com/2GiNSYQhds
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) July 20, 2022
Now, it takes two to tango, and after Horton-Tucker’s down year in 2021-22, it remains to be seen if he has enough value to be the centerpiece of a trade for a rebuilding team. A Westbrook (and picks) for Hield and Turner trade has been floated for months but Indiana likely will be asking for significant draft assets in return (as in, both of the L.A. picks they can trade in 2027 and 2029) and the Lakers aren’t too keen on mortgaging the future in total to get rid of Westbrook. As such, we still sit in a bit of a stalemate, but the fact that they’ve circled back to the Pacers indicates that maybe they’re willing to try something new, and Indiana might have some newfound motivation to make a deal after failing to land Deandre Ayton with their max offer sheet.