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There's been plenty of variations of potential Russell Westbrook trades bandied about as of late, but they all include a common denominator - significant draft pick compensation.

Last week, Substack's Marc Stein mentioned the Charlotte Hornets as a team that could be willing to take on the final year of Russell Westbrook's contract. Stein also thinks the Indiana Pacers could also be open to acquiring Westbrook. But the price tag for getting the Lakers out from underneath the Russ contract won't come cheaply. 

"With the Pacers presumed to have no interest in Westbrook beyond his expiring salary, such a swap figures to hinge on what sort of draft compensation the Lakers would be willing to furnish to sweeten the deal for the Pacers to participate and then (we can only imagine) part ways with Westbrook."

"Draft compensation" from the Lakers would likely translate to the team's 2027 and 2029 first-round pick. LA can trade their 2029 pick once the calendar strikes July 1.

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The questions is, would the Lakers desire to execute the Buddy Hield trade that haunted them all year outweigh mortgaging the future? Stein didn't present it as a definite, but something that isn't completely out of the realm of possibility.

"Another option that could (stress: could) present itself provided the Pacers like the idea: The Lakers have a well-documented interest in Buddy Hield, who came to Indiana along with Haliburton in the Sabonis trade, and might well offer Russell Westbrook and his $47.1 million expiring contract for Hield and Brogdon."

Hield is the type of player that typically thrives alongside LeBron. He doesn't have to have the ball in his hands to be effective. This past season Hield ranked 64th in usage rate this season. What might be even more important is that he's a career 39.8% three-point shooter. 

Brogdon is also an efficient shooter from downtown (37.6%), but does have serious durability concerns. He played just 36 games this year and 56 games in 2020-2021.

In a season of inconsistency one thing is quite consistent; the Lakers will have to send out one, if not both of their first-round picks.