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It’s tough to figure out which direction the Los Angeles Lakers are headed. On the court, they went the wrong way, despite having LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook on the roster. Even though injuries sidelined James and Davis for some time, the Lakers suffered through an embarrassing season that ended without a playoff appearance.

Adding Westbrook proved to be a disaster. His monstrous contract and poor production are problems. The Lakers reportedly have an opportunity to rid themselves of Westbrook and add a couple of nice pieces, but the front office seems as lost as the team was on the court. It appears the Lakers are balking over making the move because of a 2029 NBA Draft pick.

The Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers are reportedly involved in talks regarding Westbrook

Russell Westbrook of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball during the first half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on April 05, 2022, in Phoenix, Arizona. | Christian Petersen/Getty Images.

Westbrook opted into his $47.1 million deal last month, creating a problem for the Lakers if they want to turn things around this season. If LA wants to make any significant moves, Westbrook would likely have to be involved.

Bob Kravitz, senior staff writer for The Athletic, reported that a deal between the Lakers and Indiana Pacers is on hold for now. The hangup is a draft pick seven years down the road.

Kravitz said a package that would send Westbrook and a first-round pick to the Pacers for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield is dead because the Pacers want another first-rounder in return. It’s far from a ridiculous asking price, but apparently that’s the holdup.

Kravitz also tweeted that the draft pick being asked for is for 2029.

“I’m not telling the Lakers how to operate, but it seems to me a second first rounder — in 2029, no less — is a reasonable price to pay as LeBron moves into the back end of his prime, plus you get two decent players while getting out from under the Westbrook contract,” he wrote.

The Lakers are foolish if they don’t add the second pick to the deal


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If Karvitz’s report is true, the Lakers should seriously think this through. Adding a first-rounder seven years down the road is a small price to pay to help turn the team’s fortunes around.

James will be 38 during the 2022-23 season. If the Lakers are looking to compete for another title with him still in town, adding Hield and Turner is a big step in the right direction. Hield put up 18.2 points last year in 26 games after the Pacers acquired him from the Sacramento Kings. He also shot 36.2% from three-point land.

A foot injury limited Turner to 42 games last season, but he put up 12.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks.

Westbrook just has the one year left on his deal, but that year is precious. James and the Lakers can’t afford to ride out the year and regroup after Westbrook’s contract expires. It’s win now for the Lakers with James on the roster.

Westbook has to go. Maybe the Lakers still have hopes to land Kyrie Irving and are playing the waiting game. The deal for Turner and Hield is a game-changer for the Lakers. Hopefully, for the team’s sake, there’s more to the story that a 2029 draft pick is holding it up.

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