4 Trades That Could End Russell Westbrook’s Time With The Lakers

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After four games and four losses in the 2022-23 NBA season, the Lakers are in a dilemma. After an offseason full of rumors and trade proposals, Westbrook is still a Laker, and nothing has changed.

To make matters worse, the team’s three-pointers simply don’t fall, as Carmelo Anthony and Malik Monk are no longer in the squad. With Matt Ryan as the only true pitcher on the team, the Lakers offense was exposed multiple times.

Rob Pelinka reportedly plans to wait at least 20 games before reopening discussions on possible Westbrook deals, but fans aren’t too happy with that idea. The 0-4 campaign can quickly turn into 0-5, 0-6 and so on, and since the Pelicans are entitled to the Lakers’ draft picks, fighting for Victor Wembanayama is not an option.

The Lakers not owning their draft pick is the saddest part of their terrible start.

But that leaves an important question, which trades from Westbrook would still be available to the Lakers?

Teams that were frequently mentioned are the Utah Jazz, Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Hornets and San Antonio Spurs. And, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Pelinka tried “two-, three-, and four-team commercial packages during the summer and fall.”

So with that in mind, what are some potential deals that Lakers fans can look forward to in the near future?

Russell Westbrook for the Indiana Pacers

Pacers welcome: Russell Westbrook and 2027 first-round pick

Lakers welcome: Buddy Hield and Myles Turner

Until Westbrook is traded, this rumor will run a few times. However, if the Pacers start winning a lot of games, that’s where the Lakers might have more chances.

Indiana is one of the teams that should be looking for a chance at Wembanyama, and because of that, having Hield and Turner could be a detriment to their ultimate goal. When Thanksgiving rolls around, if they have a winning streak, accepting a package with just one of the Lakers picks might be worth it.

Russell Westbrook for the Utah Jazz

Jazz welcomes: Russell Westbrook, 2023 first-round pick (via MIA), 2027 first-round pick (via LAL)

Lakers welcome: Jordan Clarkson, Duncan Robinson, Malik Beasley

Heat receives: Kelly Olynyk

In keeping with Pelinka’s desire to create multi-team negotiations, here’s one that might work for all parties involved. The Heat would have a great duo alongside Bam Adebayo, the Lakers would get some much-needed shooting and depth, and the Jazz would get picks and an expiring contract.

The reason behind Miami’s involvement in this deal would be for the Lakers to take over Robinson’s contract. Sure, that would lessen their cap space next offseason, but it would help them put a better team around LeBron James and Anthony Davis regardless. The Jazz wouldn’t have to pay Robinson’s long-term salary, so the Lakers would only have to trade one of their future picks.

Additionally, according to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, “sources expect the Lakers and Jazz to resume negotiations at the end of the season.”

*LAL and MIA would have to trade irrelevant choices/money to make a deal work, because each team must trade pieces with all teams involved.

Russell Westbrook for the San Antonio Spurs

Spurs welcome: Russell Westbrook, Juancho Hernangomez, 2023 first-round pick (via TOR), 2027 first-round pick (via LAL),

Lakers welcome: Doug McDermott, Josh Richardson, Khem Birch.

Raptors get: Jakob Poeltl

This deal would be similar to a three-team deal with the Heat and Jazz, as the Raptors would be playing a similar role – entering the deal to get a player and ensuring the Lakers only need to trade a first-round pick.

San Antonio would focus their efforts on Wembanyama, the Lakers would get solid depth (but not as solid as the Jazz trade), and the Raptors would get an upgrade from a well-known hotshot player.

All of that being said, SB Nation’s Spurs website Pounding the Rock pointed out one important fact – the Lakers don’t have much clout in a Westbrook-San Antonio trade. Unless Spurs win a lot of games, the team has no real reason to give in to the Lakers’ wishes. So, unless the team drops too much into the season and is on the hunt for Play-In, it seems unlikely that the Spurs will spring into action for Westbrook.

*LAL and TOR would have to trade irrelevant choices/money to make a deal work because each team must trade pieces with all teams involved.

Russell Westbrook for the Charlotte Hornets

Hornets receive: Russell Westbrook, 2027 first-round pick, 2023 second-round pick

Lakers welcome: Gordon Hayward, Kelly Oubre Jr., Mason Plumlee

As the season progresses, the Hornets may realize that the time to sink is now. Even when LaMelo Ball returns, the team doesn’t seem to have much hope of making the playoffs in a hotly contested Eastern Conference. And if the board decides that tanking is the right move, that deal should be at the top of the list.

Getting a future first-round pick from the Lakers and a second in 2023 would be a huge feat in exchange for three players who likely wouldn’t have as much commercial value in other deals. But for the Lakers, getting Hayward’s pitch creation, Oubre’s pitching, and Plumlee’s playmaking in the center position would be very useful.

As time goes on, we Lakers fans will become increasingly desperate for a Westbrook trade. But Pelinka, sitting on top of his shiny new contract extension, doesn’t seem to be in a hurry.

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