REPORT: Utah and Indiana Emerge As Trade Partners For Russell Westbrook

The Utah Jazz and Indiana Pacers have reportedly emerged as the newest trade partners to acquire Russell Westbrook ahead of training camp beginning in September, according to multiple reports.

On Tuesday, Mike Scotto of Hoopshype reported that Indiana was prepared to offer Myles Turner and Buddy Hield for Westbrook, Talen Horton-Tucker, and two first-round picks. The Pacers were also willing to take on Daniel Theis’ contract. Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johson were traded to the Utah Jazz last week for Patrick Beverley, who addresses the defensive and long-range shooting concerns many had about the Lakers.

However, according to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, Utah seems to be a “more likely” landing spot for Westbrook. During a recent podcast appearance, Buha reported that Indiana is offering up Myles Turner and Buddy Hield.

“As far as Westbrook’s trade market, I’ve heard Indiana and Utah are the two most likely destinations,” Buha said. “I think Utah is, from what I’ve been told, more likely than Indiana. There are several permutations there with Indiana where it could be Myles Turner and Buddy Hield together or one of the two.”

Although acquiring Hield and Turner would further alleviate the Lakers’ immediate need for shooting and versatile defenders, trade negotiations were reportedly described as “dead” earlier this summer, per Bob Kravitz. With training camp coming up, LA and Indiana could re-engage in trade talks. Hield averaged 15.6 points per game on 40.6 percent shooting from the field and 36.6 percent from beyond the arc.

His ability to stretch the court and Turner’s shooting capabilities (33.3 percent shooting) could help Westbrook regain his efficiency at the rim and make his job easier as he surveys the hardwood for dunkers or shooters. Last season, Westbrook was the scapegoat for the Lakers’ failure to make the playoffs after averaging 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per game while shooting 44.4 percent from the field 29.8 from long-distance.

That said, Utah is headed for a rebuild after trading Rudy Gobert and making it clear that they are willing to part ways with All-Star guard Donovan Mithell this off-season. If Mitchell is traded, Utah will likely have draft capital and players that could be used to sweeten up the pot in a three-team deal packaged around Westbrook and Mitchell.

The Lakers are reportedly keen on helping to resurrect Westbrook’s career despite the swirling trade rumors. Newly hired Coach Darvin Ham told reporters he has a “wholehearted plan” to bring the best out of Brodie, while Westbrook reportedly had a phone call with LeBron James and Anthony Davis to smooth over their commitment to playing with each other on the Lakers.

The Lakers hope the hiring of Ham and the signing of younger, more athletic talent will help them return to the playoffs after a disastrous 2021-22 campaign full of injuries and drama surrounding their Big 3.