To get out of Russell Westbrook’s expiring contract, the Lakers are going to have to exhaust just about every imaginable avenue. After claiming for much of the playoffs that they were seriously considering retaining him, it looks like the front office is looking to take advantage of any leverage built to make a move in the near future.
Among those franchises the Lakers would have called are the Indiana Pacers. The basis of the deal remains something centered around Russ, Malcolm Brogdon and Buddy Hield strictly so the finances can work. On Tuesday’s episode of Zach Lowe’s Lowe’s postJonathan Givony dropped by to talk about the draft and shared this nugget near the end of the Lakers episode:
“They are active. You hear some of them, you know, they call Indiana and say, “What do you think of Westbrook and Talen Horton-Tucker and our 2026 first round?” and they just have a good laugh and a “No thanks”. We have better deals on the table than that.
It should be noted that the tone used by Givony was more hypothetical and it did not appear that he was reporting that this was the specific deal offered by the Lakers. One, the deal doesn’t work out from a salary perspective and two, the Lakers technically don’t have their 2026 pick available to trade, although Eric Pincus of Launderer’s report shed some light on this:
It was asked, how can the Lakers trade a 2026 debut if they owe their 2024 or 2025 to the Pelicans. I wrote about how to circumvent the Stepien rule @SportsBizClass https://t.co/k0EPEjy8XJ – The answer to this would be in the section two years later
— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) June 21, 2022
What Givony is reporting, however, is that the Lakers have been discussing deals for Brogdon. It would be hard to pull off, but the logic behind a Russ-Brogdon deal is similar to discussions with the Hornets over Westbrook for Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier. There is current value in the players, but the sum total of their long-term contracts outweighs their advantages on the pitch, especially for their current squads.
With Brogdon, the situation is a bit different as he is a 50/40/90 caliber player when healthy, although that is usually only around 50 games per season. For that reason, the Pacers may be looking for a better deal than just a salary dump, which, at this point, is what a trade for Russ’ expiration would be.
In the same episode, Lowe also reported this about Anthony Davis:
“Let’s be clear on a few other things: I was told unequivocally that Anthony Davis wouldn’t be traded, so let’s get that out of the way. Let alone Kyrie.
Not that it needs to be erased, necessarily. But AD will remain a Laker.
The big news on Monday was that the Lakers were interested in Kyrie Irving, who remains at an impasse with the Nets. Certainly, several teams are interested in Irving, but the Nets are interested in what these teams have to offer, that’s a whole other story.
As far as what the Lakers might have to offer, the interest just isn’t there. Unlike other Russ trades, the Nets gain no financial flexibility by trading for Russ. On top of that, a Russ-Kevin Durant team was probably played to its logical end, and that was ten years ago, when each had far fewer physical limitations.
Most of the league seems to ignore any potential noise about a Lakers and Nets superstar guard trade, as Jake Fischer of Launderer’s report:
Irving’s interest in the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks has been circulating among league staff since the NBA Draft Combine in mid-May, but few team executives have given him much credit. this chatter.
If Irving were to go for the 22-23 season in hopes of being traded to Los Angeles, Brooklyn would have little incentive to negotiate with the Lakers, who would struggle to return commensurate value to the Nets.
The only way to manufacture a deal by sending Irving to LA in exchange for Russ might be through a threesome. For example, a team like Charlotte or Indiana could step in to face Russ’ expiration for the financial flexibility his contract would give them after this season, while Brooklyn could perhaps prefer Hayward, Rozier, Brogdon or Hield over Westbrook or Kyrie. .
But it’s several steps down the road to a deal few believe, as Marc Stein noted during his Spotify Greenroom session with Kevin O’Connor of The ring In Monday.
“My very hot take is that the Nets are not going to take Russell Westbrook over for Kyrie Irving…One by one, the Nets are not getting Kyrie a deal with the Lakers. I’m really having a hard time seeing it.
O’Connor went on to explain how a three-team trade might be possible, but as Stein noted, a straight trade from Westbrook to Irving seems impossible at this point.
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