There has allegedly been considerable surprise in the NBA as a result of the Los Angeles Lakers’ hesitation to include several first-round selections in the Russell Westbrook trade negotiations.
According to Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times, vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka has not “really” dug deep into the Lakers’ asset coffers in order to acquire Westbrook. First-round picks in 2027 and 2029, second-round picks, and pick swaps are all up for grabs in trade negotiations with the Lakers.
The Lakers have demonstrated a willingness to deal with their two available first-round selections to get Kyrie Irving, according to Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News. As the Nets have moved slowly in their negotiations over the impending departures of Irving and Kevin Durant, this was the first significant indication of progress from either side in a number of weeks.
Prior to this, the Lakers only expressed interest in parting with one of their future first-round picks, and Brooklyn seemed unwilling to accept that offer.
Uncertainty surrounds whether Pelinka’s enhanced adaptability applies to the frequently reported trade discussions with the Indiana Pacers. The apparent alternative to dealing for Irving is to get Myles Turner and Buddy Hield from Indiana. Nevertheless, Bob Kravitz of The Athletic claimed last month that negotiations had stalled because the Lakers refused to throw in a second first-round selection.
Prior to their meeting with Pelinka and the new Lakers coach Darvin Ham, LeBron James and his agent Rich Paul had heard the rumour. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, James expressed “concerns” about the future over the majority of the discussion.
James stressed the need of ongoing competition and teamwork, according to insiders, saying that the squad from the previous season didn’t give itself a chance on numerous occasions. In order to give oneself an opportunity to compete for a championship, “the priority for the potential Hall of Famer is competing every night.”
Pelinka’s conversation with James and the apparent desire to mortgage future draught assets are easily connected. Last season, James and Westbrook were an obvious oil-and-water combination on the court, and it’s difficult to envision a situation in which either player completely changes their style of play to make things work.
The Lakers may try to use Westbrook more as a spot-up shooter in the corners, according to Haynes’ report, although the 2017 NBA MVP has previously laughed at playing a smaller role.
The possibility that the Lakers will get Westbrook before camp is still quite high.