One player who has been tied to the Los Angeles Lakers several times in the NBA Rumors mill is sharpshooting guard Buddy Hield. Hield originally was almost traded to the Lakers before the team made the Russell Westbrook trade. Then, all fans heard for an entire year was about the possibility of LA trading Westbrook and draft picks for Hield and Myles Turner.
That speculation has died since Los Angeles traded Westbrook and rebuilt the roster in his absence. It has been too quiet for too long, though, as the possibility of a Hield trade is now on the table.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Hield and the Indiana Pacers are working on a potential trade for the two-guard after contract extension talks stalled between the two parties. Of course, because of prior connections, the Lakers became a possible destination for Hield.
NBA rumors: How the Lakers could trade for Buddy Hield
Since the Lakers just re-signed most of the team’s roster in the offseason, the only feasible way to trade for Hield would be to wait until December 15. At that point, many of the players that the Lakers signed in the summer can be traded.
If the situation with Hield and the Pacers managed to drag out for that long then the most likely trade package would involve D’Angelo Russell. Los Angeles all but confirmed that D’Lo would be traded with the contract that he signed and his salary is almost identical to Hield’s salary.
Indiana doesn’t really need another point guard with Tyrese Haliburton on the roster, so the Pacers would likely try to work in a third team to get some kind of wing depth in return. Depending on how the 2023-24 season goes, a potential deal could look something like the following:
Again, this specific trade would depend on how the season is going. If San Antonio is trying to make a push for the play-in or playoffs, it would make sense to flip McDermott for a playmaker in the backcourt. Indiana would replace Hield’s shooting with McDermott and would get second-round picks for half a season of Hield.
It does not have to be this exact package, but the framework of the deal would be something along these lines.
All that being said, this is assuming that the Hield situation in Indiana even drags on for that long. If the two sides are already working on a trade then there is a good chance that it won’t drag out to mid-December or longer.
Does a Buddy Hield trade make sense for the Lakers?
Let’s say that Hield does last half a season in Indiana before being traded. The question then becomes if this trade is worth it for the purple and gold.
There definitely are compelling reasons to trade Russell. While he is undeniably talented offensively, he does too many things in the course of a basketball game that do not equate to winning. Lakers fans saw this in the playoffs, whether it be his lack of effort in transition, his bad isolation defending, or his tendency to heat-check himself and kill any momentum the Lakers had.
It would benefit the team to flip Russell for someone who fits better in a playoff environment. Hield, while he is a better catch-and-shoot option, is not that guy. A lot of the same problems that Russell has Hield also has. It would be a lateral move for the purple and gold.
Unless Russell is becoming some kind of distraction off the court, it wouldn’t move the needle much for LA to do this. The team would be better off exploring other alternatives.