The 2021-22 NBA season was less than ideal for the Indiana Pacers, but a lot of their problems were directly linked to injuries.
Nobody on the Pacers’ roster played in more than 67 games this season and due to injuries and other problems, Indiana ended up missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season, the first-time they have missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons since 2010.
Heading into the offseason, the Pacers will be faced with some challenges in terms of building around Tyrese Haliburton and a recent report suggests that Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook could be on their monitor.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Pacers could emerge as a potential suitor for the Lakers’ guard, but Charania did mention that any trade involving Westbrook would be complicated given that he is going to be opting into his $47 million player option for the 2022-23 season.
The two players mentioned in a potential Russell Westbrook trade involving the Pacers were Malcolm Brogdon and Buddy Hield.
Given that Tyrese Haliburton has become the young leader of this team in the backcourt, Brogdon’s status with the Pacers heading into the offseason is definitely in question.
Since joining the Pacers back in 2019, Malcolm Brogdon has been a key two-way talent at the point guard position when he is healthy, averaging 18.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 6.3 assists and shooting 44.7% from the floor. Should Indiana make Brogdon available in trade talks, there will be multiple teams showing interest in him as a veteran guard that can play on- or off-the-ball.
As for Buddy Hield, he came over in the trade deadline trade with the Sacramento Kings that involved Domantas Sabonis, Tyrese Haliburton and some other role players.
In 26 games with the Pacers this season, Hield looked like he fit in really well, averaging 18.2 poins, 5.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists and shooting 36.2% from three-point range.
Having two more years on his current contract and set to make $39 million, Hield will very much be involved in trade conversations this offseason as the Indiana Pacers look to “re-tool” their roster and not go through an entire rebuilding process.
However, trading away Hield and Brogdon to the Lakers for Westbrook and a future first-round pick does not seem to make much sense for the Indiana Pacers as a whole, especially given their stance on not wanting to rebuild.
Should the team decide to explore trade opportunities involving both Buddy Hield and Malcolm Brogdon, there will be several other teams not named the Los Angeles Lakers showing interest in these two players.
What moves Indiana looks to make heading into the offseason are unknown at this time, but it is very clear to see that trading for Russell Westbrook would be nothing more than a move symbolizing a rebuild, especially since the Pacers would not get any real future assets back from Los Angeles.
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