Latest On Russell Westbrook, Lakers, Pacers

Perhaps the Lakers aren’t determined to land Pacers center Myles Turner in a Russell Westbrook trade, as reports suggest. They may be solely focused be on landing shooting guard Buddy Hield.Russell Westbrook

And they may have floated the name of Talen Horton-Tucker as part of the proposal.

All of this comes from Marc Stein of The Stein Line, who mentioned several trade possibilities between the Lakers and Pacers — one of which involved Westbrook going to Indiana and getting his contract bought out, with the Pacers’ big prizes being Horton-Tucker and picks.

“Indiana would be expected to buy Westbrook out if such a trade came to fruition … which is another likely obstacle because buying out such a big salary is hardly the norm for Pacers owner Herb Simon,” Stein wrote. “It is likewise believed that the teams have discussed a deal focused on Hield, without Turner involved, that would still require the Lakers to furnish draft compensation to Indiana’s liking as part of a package centered around Talen Horton-Tucker.”

In other words, the talks are fluid — and it seems as if the guy the Lakers really want is Hield. They explored landing him last season, when he was still with the Kings, but ended up with Westbrook instead.

That didn’t solve their outside shooting issues, or make them any younger. Westbrook instead proved to be a clunky fit. Hield isn’t as splashy of a name, but may be much more of the type of player that LeBron James and Anthony Davis need next to them.

But trading Westbrook has proven difficult — and while Hoops Wire sources say the Lakers seem more determined to do it than even at the trade deadline, a deal with the Pacers may not be in the cards.

“The precise draft compensation that the Lakers have pitched to this point is not yet known in full, but my best approximation is that they have made one of their two future first-round picks available in combination with multiple (likely two) second-rounders,” Stein wrote. “It has been reported elsewhere that the Lakers are prepared to surrender one of their oft-discussed available firsts (in 2027 and 2029) with little-to-no-protections in such a deal, but I need to stress that I haven’t heard such specificity yet from my own sources.

“My sense is that the Lakers would have some level of trepidation giving up even one completely unprotected first when Turner (whom they definitely like) is on the final year of his contract and could immediately leave L.A. in free agency next summer barring an extension.”

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