Report: Jeanie Buss was ‘reluctant’ to give up Russell Westbrook for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner when they were close to a deal

Brad Sullivan
4 Min Read

Despite talk of Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook being traded to the Indiana Pacers, owner Jeanie Buss was reportedly reluctant to deal away the veteran last summer.

Sam Amick of The Athletic looked into how that reluctance by Buss played a role in Westbrook staying with the Lakers, where he’s now being used as a key reserve.

“Westbrook may not be thrilled with the role, but his improved play and intensity speak volumes about his willingness to accept the reality that it’s the right move for this team,” Amick wrote. “This is why Lakers owner Jeanie Buss was known to be reluctant to give up on Westbrook in those days leading into training camp, when they came so close to doing the well-chronicled deal with Indiana that would have sent Westbrook to the Pacers in exchange for big man Myles Turner and sharpshooter Buddy Hield.”

The solid performance being delivered by Westbrook is seen as one reason why the Lakers may ultimately hold onto the veteran. Another factor could also be the Lakers’ reported aversion to include future high draft picks to help move him.

For the season, Westbrook has seen action in 26 contests, starting the first three games of the regular season before being shifted to come off the bench. In those games, Westbrook is averaging 14.7 points, 7.5 assists and 5.9 rebounds per contest.

Those numbers pale in comparison to when Westbrook averaged triple-doubles for seasons during his peak years. They also are certainly lower than what the Lakers were expecting when they acquired him in a blockbuster deal in 2021.

At the time of that trade, Westbrook’s addition to a lineup that already had LeBron James and Anthony Davis was seen as a potential game-changer in the Lakers’ championship hopes.

Instead, Westbrook’s inability to establish on-court chemistry and injuries to both Davis and James turned a potential championship run into a disastrous season in which the Lakers missed the playoffs entirely.

Those struggles by Westbrook resulted in the Lakers looking at trading him during the course of the 2021-22 season. Such efforts came up short, though the Lakers continued to seek a trading partner during the subsequent offseason.

The trade discussions with Indiana for Hield and Turner were serious enough that trade proposals were exchanged but ultimately came to an end, with Westbrook still in a Lakers uniform.

Westbrook turned 34 last month and is in the final season of a lucrative deal that’s paying him $47.1 million for the 2022-23 campaign. Whether the Lakers choose to re-sign him after this season is uncertain, though the price tag will definitely be much lower.

For now, Westbrook and the Lakers will continue to try to bounce back from their 2-10 start to the season. They next take the court on Friday night, when they host the Denver Nuggets.

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Brad is a freelance writer for, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.