Lakers Among Analyst’s ‘Top’ Landing Spots for Pacers’ $94 Million Guard
The Los Angeles Lakers, like any other team, can never have too much shooting, and one analyst believes they could stand to restart their pursuit of Indiana Pacers guard Buddy Hield.
“The Lakers and Pacers batted around a Hield and Myles Turner for Russell Westbrook and draft picks for several months last year,” wrote Tyler Conway of Bleacher Report on September 20. “Indiana eventually moved on and signed Turner to a long-term extension, while the Lakers waited until midseason to … overhaul their roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
“Now is a chance to potentially undo that wrong.”
Hield averaged 16.8 points while shooting 42.5% on 8.5 attempts from beyond the arc, adding 5.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists (to 1.7 turnovers), and 1.2 steals per game. A former first-round pick of the Sacramento Kings, Hield has also spent time with the New Orleans Pelicans.
He is heading into the final year of a four-year, $94 million contract and has been unable to come to an agreement on terms with the Pacers on a new deal.
“After contract extension negotiations stalled out, Buddy Hield and the Indiana Pacers have started a dialogue to work on finding a potential trade with another team,” wrote Shams Charania of The Athletic on September 20. “Hield is open to a trade elsewhere … but no deal is imminent and there aren’t any current substantive talks with any other team.”
This is where the Lakers could step in with a “straightforward offer” for Hield, per Conway.
Proposed Trade Gets Pacers’ Buddy Hield to Lakers
“The Lakers also have a straightforward offer of D’Angelo Russell and future second-round picks on the table as soon as Russell is eligible to be traded,” wrote Conway. “Russell floundered in the 2023 playoffs and was largely brought back because the Lakers weren’t going to be able to replace him with cap exceptions.”
– Buddy Hield
– D’Angelo Russell
– 2nd round picks
Russell waived his implied no-trade clause when he re-signed on a two-year, $36 million contract this offseason, fueling speculation that he could be included in a trade at a later date.
To this point, he has been fully bought in, including having to sacrifice for the team.
Russell started all 17 of his appearances with the Lakers who re-acquired him as part of their roster overhaul at the trade deadline. But his playing time dwindled as the Western Conference Finals wore on, culminating in fewer than 15 minutes in the deciding Game 4.
Trading D’Angelo Russell Could Help Austin Reaves
“Moving Russell for Hield would also allow Austin Reaves to take a more ball-dominant role in the offense,” wrote Conway. “As it stands, Reaves and Russell are going to be wrestling back and forth for the secondary ball-handler role behind James. One of the two will lose that battle and ultimately wind up either unhappy or overpaid and fading into the background.”
Head coach Darvin Ham has already said that he is planning to feature Reaves as the team’s starting shooting guard next season. And free agent signing Gabe Vincent will also do his fair share of handling the ball.
Russell could be squeezed as it is. Swapping in an off-ball player such as Hield could help alleviate some of that looming logjam.