Now that Russell Westbrook has opted-in to his contract and Kyrie Irving has bypassed free agency, the Los Angeles Lakers appeared limited in how they can upgrade the roster for the 2022-23 season. The Lakers, only two seasons removed from winning a title, could revisit trading for a guard they nearly acquired last year.

The Lakers have “circled back” to Indiana Pacers guard Buddy Hield as a trade target, according to The Action Network’s Matt Moore. When Hield was a member of the Sacramento Kings a year ago, Los Angeles had reportedly considered a deal that involved Montrezl Harrell and Kyle Kuzma.

Instead of acquiring Hield, the Lakers sent Harrell, Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and other assets to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Westbrook.

Hield was sent to the Pacers just prior to February’s trade deadline. The 29-year-old had the worst shooting season of his NBA career, though he still managed to convert 36.6% of his 3-point attempts. After struggling in 55 games with the Kings, Hield increased his scoring average to 18.2 points per game with Indiana.

Since being drafted in 2016, Hield has been one of the NBA’s most accurate shooters. He’s a career 39.8% shooter on 7.6 attempts per game from 3-point range.

A glaring lack of shooting was one of the Lakers’ biggest weaknesses last season, highlighted by Westbrook’s 29.8% mark from beyond the arc. Only eight teams had a worse 3-point shooting percentage (34.7%) and only one of those teams (the New Orleans Pelicans) made the playoffs.

The Lakers' 2021-22 season was a massive disappointment. Los Angeles finished with the 11th-best record in the deep Western Conference.

It’s not exactly known what the Pacers might want in exchange for Hield. Hield has two years and nearly $40 million left on his contract. As Indiana contemplates rebuilding, the Pacers would likely want draft picks in any deal.

The only first-round picks that the Lakers can trade are in 2027 and 2029. Talen Horton-Tucker is the Lakers’ most attractive young trade piece, though he didn’t take the step forward last season that many predicted.

Westbrook, Anthony Davis and LeBron James are set to make more than $129 million combined, putting the Lakers above the salary cap with their salaries alone.

Buddy Hield Indiana Pacers
Buddy Hield #24 of the Indiana Pacers shoots the ball during the second half against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on April 10, 2022 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Nets won 134-126. Sarah Stier/Getty Images
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