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Russell Westbrook's Trade With the Indiana Pacers Appears to be Dead In the Water

The Los Angeles Lakers suffered a humiliating season last time around, and it appears they are keen to rid themselves of Russell Westbrook as part of a purge, but a move to Indiana appears to have hit a brick wall due to demands made by the Pacers.

Westbrook was a disappointment among a season of issues last season, and there would be many within the organization that would welcome his departure, but the Lakers are unwilling to give up two first-round picks.

The Pacers suffered a horrendous season of their own in 2021-22, suffering more losses than in any season since 1985, and the capture of Westbrook, who is a high-quality player when he's at the top of his game, would significantly aid their recovery. No doubt such a trade would see an influx in bets via NBA sportsbooks in Indiana as head coach Rick Carlisle looks to reverse the trend of the last two losing seasons.

New Lakers coach Darvin Ham wasn't exactly glowing in response to discussions about Westbrook's future at the Crypto.com Arena, stating;

"We love everyone on our roster,"

"And until you're not on our roster, you're ours, and we're going to try to get better with our group. That's just the bottom line of it."

These are not the kinds of comments that would easily dissuade Westbrook from considering his options at the Lakers. In terms of what a potential trade between the Pacers and the Lakers would look like, it would apparently see Buddy Hield and Myles Turner moving to Los Angeles and Westbrook moving to Indiana along with one (in 2027), or perhaps two, first-round picks.

Last seasons 33-49 record meant that the Lakers didn't even make it to the play-in tournament, and that led to the dismissal of Frank Vogel as head coach. This was all the more surprising given that Rob Pelinka had made massive moves over the off-season to bring in the likes of Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony, but nothing was going to stop the downward spiral that followed.

Even LeBron James was powerless to stop the Lakers from sliding further into the mire, even though, on a personal level, the four-time NBA champions delivered the goods, recording his best points per game average since 2005-06.

By all accounts, the relationship between the Lakers big-three, James, Westbrook, and Anthony Davis, has soured following discussions between the trio in the off-season, but former Laker Malik Monk feels that they can turn things around if they stick together, the Sacramento Kings star stating;

"They are grown men. Especially when they have convos like that, it'll work out for them. They're all great. It's Bron, bro. He gon' try to help every teammate he comes in contact with. So, I have nothing bad to say about him. You got to play at a level he plays at. If not, you are going to get surpassed. That's why he's so great,"

Clearly, Westbrook's chances of remaining at the Lakers will depend greatly on that relationship and whether coach Ham feels it's worth the effort in the long run.