The speculation about a Lakers and Pacers trade has been a constant buzz in the background of both of their seasons. With the Lakers struggling, the Pacers still focused on tanking and Myles Turner and Buddy Hield each having strong seasons, the talks have done anything but quieted since the season has gotten underway.
Which is why on Tuesday when pictures of Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka being in the Los Angeles airport en route to Indianapolis surfaced, fans got a little excited.
Rob Pelinka and Jesse Buss are on my flight to Indiana. Lakers aren’t playing in Indiana. But. Buddy Hield trade coming ? pic.twitter.com/OHP0HCZJL2— Frank Vogle (@SportEnthus562) November 15, 2022
The speculation, naturally, ran rampant and Lakers Twitter was firing off the jokes. Even Buddy Hield jumped in on the fun, tweeting out a cryptic tweet that seemed to be directed at the speculation.
Ayyooo— Buddy Love !!!! (@buddyhield) November 16, 2022
In most situations, I’d write off Buddy’s tweet as something else. But in his podcast appearance with Adrian Wojnarowski, Myles Turner noted that he and Hield do pay attention to the tweets from Lakers fans, so it doesn’t feel like much of a stretch this time around.
Now, obviously, Pelinka being on this flight had literally nothing to do with the Pacers or a trade. At no point in NBA history have two general managers or executives in the front office needed to be in the same room to discuss or finalize a trade.
Pelinka’s trip to Indianapolis, in reality, was to scout the Champions Classic taking place at the same venue the Pacers play at in Gainbridge Fieldhouse. The annual college basketball showcase features Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, and Michigan State playing one another, four programs that routinely put players into the NBA.
Admittedly, it’s not nearly as fun of an explanation, but the fact multiple scouts joined him on this trip also further cements the purpose of it. The Lakers do own a draft pick this season, though whether it ends up being their own or New Orleans’ is to be determined.