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Indiana Pacers a likely trade landing spot for Russell Westbrook – rumors

Nov 24, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) shoots the ball over Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner (33) in the second half at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

There is a looming belief that the Indiana Pacers may become a trade candidate to acquire Russell Westbrook from the Los Angeles Lakers.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium has provided on Monday that while there is a possibility that the Pacers will initiate a conversation, a transaction is still being considered complex due to Westbrook’s remaining contract and the Lakers’ willingness to drop their 2027 first-round pick.

The All-star guard has a player option for next season worth $47 million. If ever, Charania further noted that Indiana can match it and offer Malcolm Brogdon and Buddy Hield for a deal with Los Angeles.

The Indiana Pacers could emerge as a potential suitor for Westbrook, rival executives believe, but any trade involving the former NBA MVP will be complicated due to his massive salary and the Lakers’ next available first-round draft pick being in 2027, which the franchise will prioritize and thus be prudent in deciding the best route with Westbrook. Two other routes for Westbrook could be keeping him or discussing a contract buyout.

The Pacers are building around Tyrese Haliburton, but rival teams expect them to be open to trade conversations around Malcolm Brogdon and Buddy Hield this offseason. Hield has two years and $40.4 million remaining on his deal while Brogdon has three years and nearly $68 million. If Indiana wants to shed future salary, could it view the Lakers and Westbrook’s expiring deal as a match?

The 29-year-old Brogdon is consistently being rumored as a trading piece for the Pacers that is heading towards youth development and rebuilding. Meanwhile, Hield has been the Lakers’ focal target prior to this season. As such, a swapping from both sides looks enticing on paper, with L.A. possibly looking for a fresh start without the former league MVP.

As the Lakers’ season has come to a bitter ending, huge questions entering the offseason are now piling up just to be answered. As such, time can only tell what would be their next moves to consider in order to return to the mountaintop of the NBA.

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