Russell Westbrook trade rumors have been relentless this entire offseason. He was the most popular NBA trade candidate until Brooklyn Nets superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving requested trades. Now there’s also a possibility of a Donovan Mitchell trade from the Utah Jazz.
What we do know, however, is that the Westbrook experiment didn’t quite work for the Los Angeles Lakers. They failed to make the playoffs last season and have underwhelmed this offseason. Perhaps new head coach Darvin Ham could reinvigorate Westbrook, but for now, it seems more likely that the Lakers will aim for a trade. With that being said, trading Westbrook’s massive $47 million won’t be easy.
Potential Russell Westbrook Trade Scenarios
Heading to Indiana
Indiana Pacers receive Russell Westbrook and the Lakers’ 2027 first and second-round picks.
It seems like a foregone conclusion that the Lakers will need to staple draft picks to Westbrook to get a deal done. Indiana is in the midst of a rebuild, as seen in recently trading Malcolm Brogdon to the Boston Celtics, so perhaps they’ll look to get rid of other contracts.
LeBron James needs shooters around him. Hield, in that sense, is a near-perfect fit. He’s been one of the top three-point shooters in the entire league since he started his professional journey. In 26 games for the Pacers last season, after being traded from the Sacramento Kings, Hield averaged about 18 points, five rebounds, and five assists per game. He also shot 36 percent from deep, which is a tad lower than his usual average. With that being said, Hield shoots at a high volume and is successful at it.
McConnell is a pesky perimeter defender and plays with true grit. He also averaged about nine points, three rebounds, and five assists per game last season. He’ll be a very nice rotational piece for the Lakers.
Indiana does this trade to shed future salaries as Westbrook is due to come off the books after this season. Perhaps he can also mentor up-and-coming star Tyrese Haliburton. Indiana also gets the bonus of two draft picks, one of which being a first-rounder.
San Antonio Spurs receive Russell Westbrook, Austin Reaves, and the Lakers’ 2027 first-round pick.
Los Angeles needs to be focused on bringing in as much talent as possible to compete for a championship this coming season. James is already there, and assuming Anthony Davis remains healthy, the Lakers have one of the fiercest duos in the game. Instead of trying to have a “third star,” simply adding talent may be the solution.
First off, the Lakers acquire a talented scorer and shooter in McDermott. He averaged 11 points per game last season and shot over 42 percent from deep. He’ll get great looks alongside James.
Richardson is a tough perimeter defender. He also averaged about 10 points, three rebounds, and two assists per game last season splitting time between the Celtics and Spurs. His shooting improved as well, as he drained close to 42 percent of his attempts from deep.
Collins brings big man depth. He barely played last season due to injury but averaged eight points, six rebounds, and two assists per game in just 18 minutes on the floor.
San Antonio is aiming towards a rebuild, so they shed future salaries with this deal. They also get two solid pieces for the future, however. Reaves showed flashes of being a solid rotational piece and the first-round pick is a major bonus.
Russell Westbrook Trade Sees Him Join a Dynamic Offense
Charlotte Hornets receive Russell Westbrook, Talen Horton-Tucker, and the Lakers’ 2027 first-round pick.
The Hornets are in a bit of disarray due to the Miles Bridges situation. Perhaps they look to this year as somewhat of a transition before making major moves again. Acquiring Westbrook allows them to open up cap space next summer.
Injuries have not been kind to Hayward in recent years. With that being said, he can be a difference-maker for the Lakers if healthy. There’s no doubt that Hayward can be an efficient scorer and simply shoot the lights out. He’s an exciting piece to add to the Lakers’ offense.
Rozier has also blossomed into an excellent offensive player with Charlotte. Last season he averaged about 19 points, four rebounds, and five assists per game. He can be a surefire starter for Los Angeles. This trade potentially gives the Lakers the chance to start James, Rozier, Hayward, Davis, and Thomas Bryant. There may be some defensive woes there, but that’s a very strong offense.
As previously mentioned, the Hornets are in a weird place. LaMelo Ball is a future star, so perhaps they can look to build a better team next summer with this deal. Westbrook still joins a strong offense and can contribute. Horton-Tucker shows flashes, and perhaps he’ll have a bigger role in Charlotte. Finally, the team gets the coveted first-round pick.