Blockbuster Russ Trade With Pacers On Hold As Lakers Still Chase Kyrie

With the draft, free agency, and summer league in our rear view mirror, the Lakers’ Russell Westbrook trade strategy is finally unveiled: Plan A is Kyrie Irving and Joe Harris. Plan B is Buddy Hield and Myles Turner.

The good news is the Lakers apparently now have a viable backup trade partner in the Indiana Pacers willing to trade Buddy Hield and Myles Turner for Russell Westbrook and both of L.A.’s available first round picks. The Lakers have offered a package of picks including one first round pick. The Pacers have countered they want two first round picks and will reopen negotiations if the Lakers increase their offer to two first round picks.

Conjecture is the Lakers still prefer Kyrie and a shooter from the Nets over Buddy Hield and Myles Turner because championships are won by superstars and Kyrie is a superstar while Buddy and Myles are role players. They’re also going to need LeBron to sign the 2-year extension when he is eligible to on August 4th. Trading for Kyrie would probably guarantee LeBron signs the extension. Who knows if he would do the same for Hield and Turner.

Besides wanting a backup in case they cannot complete a Westbrook for Irving trade with the Nets, the Lakers want to create leverage with the Nets by letting Brooklyn know they may lose their only Irving trade partner. Obviously, the big question right now is how long should the Lakers be willing to wait for the Nets to finally agree to trade Kyrie Irving and either Joe Harris or Seth Curry to the Lakers for Westbrook and Horton-Tucker.

August 4th could be a key date as that’s when James and the Lakers can open negotiations on a possible 2-year extension. Right now, James and the Lakers can’t discuss or negotiate the extension or be guilty of tampering. Once James and the Lakers can legally discuss his extension, they can determine whether to continue to wait for a Kyrie Irving trade or take the bird in hand and close the deal with the Pacers for Hield and Turner.

Still unknown is whether the Lakers will be willing to trade both of their available draft picks. Right now, Jeanie Buss has said they will only do that for a deal that returns them to championship caliber, like trading for Kyrie. When you weigh all of the pluses and minuses, you can make a good case that trading for Hield and Turner could ultimately be a smarter move both in the long and short term for Rob Pelinka and the Los Angeles Lakers.

In the end, this is LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, which means shooting for the moon and waiting as long as it takes to get Kyrie Irving, and not settling for second best until there is no chance of getting him.

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Lakers fanatic since 1971 when team traded for Wilt Chamberlain. Founder, editor, and publisher of, a community for smart informed Lakers fans.