Can Pacers Trade Open Championship Window for Lakers This Year & Later?

Despite the Lakers announcing Westbrook as their starting point guard and the Pacers declaring Turner to be their starting center, there’s still a good chance both may be traded for each other before the start of the season.

The Lakers and Pacers trade is still likely to happen because it’s a trade both teams need to top off a successful offseason and stay laser focused on their respective strategies, which is win now for Los Angeles and tank for Indiana. Frankly, the Lakers don’t want to start the season with rookie coach Darvin Ham trying to rehabilitate Russell Westbrook and the Pacers have nothing to gain by starting the season with Turner and Hield still on the roster.

With the Lakers’ regular season opening October 18th and the Pacers on October 19th, the two teams have a little over three weeks to haggle their way to a mutually acceptable deal, most likely including two first rounders. This is a trade that benefits both teams and needs to be made now rather than dragging into the season. The two sides are too close for a deal this important to fail because of a pick swap or protection on a second pick.

But even if the Pacers stubbornly stand firm and demand two unprotected picks, the Lakers need to make this trade. It’s their only move right now to open up a legitimate albeit small championship window for this season. Just as importantly, trading Westbrook for Turner and Hield puts the Lakers in a stronger position to pull off a possible midseason Irving trade with the Nets, should they struggle out-of-the-gate and look to move Kyrie.

The Nets currently don’t have a starting center but have long coveted Myles Turner as the prototype modern center. Should Nets’ chaos occur, the Lakers would be better positioned to take advantage of the opportunity. Nobody knows if Kyrie is going to be available but being able to offer Turner and Hield instead of Westbrook would probably win the trade for L.A. In fact, Lakers probably have no chance at swapping Russ for Kyrie,

No matter how much they like to talk about cap space, the Lakers know there’s no way they can create the amount of cap space needed to sign a superstar in free agency, which means their only option is trade for one. Come the trade deadline, teams will know the Lakers have to trade Russ, which will reduce what they will offer. The odds of a great trade appearing aren’t worth the risk of disaster Russ and the current roster represent.

Right now, the correct strategic response by the Lakers is to step back and see how camp turns out and specifically how Russ is working. Considering what’s at stake, I hope and expect to see positive reports from the Lakers. Regardless of intent, those camp reports will affect negotiations between the two teams, especially if things turn rocky with Russ. The start of the season is miles away in the condensed landscape of camp and preseason.

Everything the Lakers have done this season has been done assuming a Westbrook trade would fix the size and shooting issues. Rob now has three weeks to pull off the Pacers’ trade and win the Lakers’ summer and future.

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LakerTom

LakerTom

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