With all the talks and rumors of deals, it seems like a foregone conclusion that Russell Westbrook’s tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers is coming to an end.
After a disaster of a 2021-22 season, the Lakers are desperate to improve the roster and the easiest path to doing so would be to trade Westbrook’s gargantuan $47 million expiring into better fitting pieces. The most talked about trade is Westbrook for Kyrie Irving, who has his own issues with the Brooklyn Nets but so far, talks have not gotten very far. Los Angeles has also explored trades with the Utah Jazz, Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks but those feel like contingencies in case Irving can’t be had.
The Lakers should do everything in their power to try and trade Westbrook before training camp starts, but an anonymous NBA agent noted that a deal would be easier to consummate at the trade deadline, via Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report:
“He’ll become easier to trade closer to the deadline [with the Lakers responsible for more than half of his 2022-23 salary]. That’s a lot less money for an owner to spend on,” the agent said. “Teams are more realistic on where they stand at that point. Other players become unhappy. Some may become available that [simply] aren’t right now.”
The executive brings up a good point as L.A. would be on the hook for most of Westbrook’s salary during the 2022-23 season which would make any receiving team more likely to swallow his deal. However, starting the season with the guard on the roster might not be untenable for the Lakers after all the drama that’s transpired during the summer, so finding a deal now still seems like the most probable course.
With the Kevin Durant trade saga ongoing, the Lakers may not find a deal they like until right before training camp so everyone will just have to continue waiting barring a drastic change in the market.
Pacers would accept Russell Westbrook and two first-round picks for Buddy Hield, Myles Turner
After Irving, the Pacers feel like the most feasible plan B for the Lakers as they have two players in Buddy Hield and Myles Turner that could definitely improve the roster. Los Angeles reportedly offered Westbrook, a first-round pick, and two second-round picks in exchange for the two but Indiana seems firm on their price of two firsts instead.
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