Call it bluffing, call it leverage, call it whatever you want, but the Lakers look to be making their next move this offseason.
As the window seems to have passed on a deal for Kyrie Irving, the Lakers are moving onto Plan B — one that includes Buddy Hield and the Indiana Pacers. According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN on Wednesday, because of the stalemate between with Brooklyn over Kyrie Irving, the Lakers have reengaged talks for Hield.
"Things have not moved in terms of the Brooklyn front [Kyrie for Russ]... There has been some talks reengaged between the Lakers and the Pacers that would center around Buddy Hield."— ’ (@_Talkin_NBA) July 20, 2022
— Dave McMenamin#NBATwitter #LakeShow pic.twitter.com/QFJHfuFR1S
Hield has been considered one of the Lakers’ Plan B options along with Eric Gordon. As McMenamin discusses, though, acquiring Hield may not come at the cost of the package that could net the team Kyrie as well.
It’s a more fluid situation with the Pacers than with the Nets. With Indiana, the idea is that the Lakers could go after just Hield or a package deal that also includes Myles Turner with the team sending out Russell Westbrook. However, the Lakers could also do something smaller, aiming just for Hield and hoping to get it done by only trading out a package centered on Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn plus draft equity.
The Lakers have expressed a desire to try to acquire Hield or Gordon with Kyrie and this could simply be the first part of that deal. Independent of a Kyrie trade, swapping out THT for Buddy is a move that would greatly benefit this roster... if they can get it done. But the Lakers have balked at including extra draft assets in any move this summer, and a potential move for Hield could prove to be no different.
Which deal the Lakers pursue could depend on how confident they are in the possibility of a Kyrie trade. As things stand, the Nets appear willing to keep Kyrie with the Lakers hanging onto Westbrook.
Things can change in an instant in the NBA, obviously, but the current temperature seems to suggest that the Lakers have already turned their attention towards Plan B.