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Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook has been the subject of trade rumors all offseason, and the Indiana Pacers have been the team most often reported to be involved in trade talks with the Lakers.

From the 1,000-foot view, the teams are good matches for a potential Westbrook deal. The Lakers want to move the former MVP after he struggled to fit with the team last season — Los Angeles had a much better net rating with Westbrook on the bench than on the court. On top of that, the triple-double machine is set to make over $47 million this season. His large salary is difficult to move.

As a result, the Lakers want to move on from Westbrook. They could acquire better-fitting players and get cheaper this season. Moving on from a contract that large is challenging, but a team with significant salary cap space can help make a deal easier.

That's what makes Indiana a snug fit for any possible deal. Between Myles Turner, Buddy Hield, and a few others, the blue and gold have veterans that would help the Lakers on the floor. In addition, the team has more than enough salary cap space to make an imbalanced trade, which makes any possible deal with LA easier.

With all of these factors in mind, it makes sense why the Lakers and Pacers have been frequently connected in reports about trade talks this offseason. Recently, a new report was published in The Athletic that shared the latest details on a Westbrook-to-Indiana deal.

The piece, penned by Shams Charania, Sam Amick, and Jovan Buha, lays out that Los Angeles reportedly considered trading Westbrook to the Pacers along with unprotected first round picks in both 2027 and 2029. In exchange, the Lakers would receive both Turner and Hield. These talks reportedly took place just ahead of training camp.

In the end, the report says that LA's front office internally debated doing the deal but opted not to. VP of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka had the final say, per the report.

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For the Pacers, that offer is in the ballpark of what feels like the right value for Hield and Turner together. Turner has enough talent to fetch a first round draft pick on his own and fits well on any team. Hield, while on an expensive deal himself, is one of the best shooters in the NBA. Those two together are worth more than one first round selection.

In addition, taking on Westbrook's giant deal will come at a cost as well. That's where the second first round pick comes from in this deal. It makes sense that a Westbrook for Turner and Hield deal would include two good draft picks.

For the Lakers, though, those two draft choices are a few of the few reamining assets the team has to improve in future trades. Using them now would limit the franchise from chasing other talent in the future.

Unprotected picks have shown a ton of value in the ongoing NBA offseason — they were used as significant trade chips in deals for DeJounte Murray, Donovan Mitchell, and Rudy Goebrt this summer. Teams want to stockpile unprotected picks, and the Pacers are no different.

Despite numerous iterations of a deal being reportedly discussed this summer, ultimately, the Lakers didn't make a formal offer and all three reportedly involved players showed up to training camp for their team. That doesn't mean trade talks are dead, though.

An injury to any one of the three players, or a slow start by the Lakers, could reignite trade discussions. Los Angeles wants to improve this season under new head coach Darvin Ham, if that doesn't happen early in their campaign, trade talks surrounding Westbrook could start up again.

Unless the Pacers fill up their cap sheet in another move, they will still be a good fit for a Westbrook trade during the season. But something will have to change from the current situation to get either the Lakers or the Pacers to change their stance on a possible deal.

  • The Indiana Pacers signed veteran guard Langston Galloway to a contract. CLICK HERE.
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  • 48th overall pick Kendall Brown has signed a two-way contract with the Pacers. CLICK HERE.
  • Many Indiana Pacers players suited up in international action during the offseason. Here's how they did. CLICK HERE.
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