Three Blockbuster Laker Trades Built Around Russell Westbrook and THT!

Once the door to a Russell Westbrook trade has been opened, it’s hard to close, especially with LeBron turning 37 end of this month. While Russ has been playing well, the Lakers would be negligent not to look at all options.

The question with Russ has never been about his talent but his fit on a Lakers team that needs to surround LeBron and AD with shooters. As expected, Russ has slowly and surely started to find his way and play well for the Lakers. However, the Lakers’ problem is they don’t have the trading chips to fix their current roster imbalance and acquire impactful talent with the size and defensive chops they need to become legitimate championship contenders.

The Lakers’ problems are two-fold. First, their only viable tradable assets who are not minimum salary or superstar players are Talen Horton-Tucker ($10 million for 3 years) and Kendrick Nunn ($5 million per year for 2 years). Second, their only other possible trading chip, since they’re not going to trade LeBron or AD, is Russell Westbrook, whose $91 million contract over the next two years makes finding willing trading partners a challenge.

The solution is to package 32-year old Russell Westbrook with 21-year old Talen Horton-Tucker, who’s shown the potential to become a dynamic two-way star, and Kendrick Nunn, another rising young star to sweeten the deal. Packaging Russ with THT and Nunn opens the door from both a talent and financial standpoint for the Lakers to make the kind of major upgrades to their starting lineup and rotations they could not have otherwise made.

Here are three blockbuster trades built around Russell Westbrook and THT that will solve the Lakers’ roster imbalance and make them bigger and better defensively and offensively and a legitimate championship contender.

1. Indiana Pacers: Myles Turner, Caris LeVert, and T.J. Warren

Myles Turner, Center: 12.9/7.4/1.0 on 51.3/36.4/74.7%
Caris LeVert, Shooting Guard: 16.3/2.7/3.3 on 44.0/29.8/80.4%
T.J. Warren, Small Forward: 19.8/4.2/1.5 on 53.6/40.3/81.9% (2019)

This trade tops the list of potential Lakers trades because it’s the perfect solution for what is a growing concern about Anthony Davis’ physical and mental ability to play center without more front court size and defense.

While the Pacers are rebuilding, they’re not going to completely tear it down so they need a combination of impact talent to help them compete at a higher level plus promising young players or draft picks to insure future growth. Russell Westbrook gives the Pacers the on-court catalyst to help ignite a fire and transform them into playoff team in the East with Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn filling in the roster as proven young talent with upside.

Myles Turner starting at center is the key for the Lakers as it allows Frank Vogel to play his preferred two-big lineups, Anthony Davis his preferred power forward, and LeBron James his preferred small forward position. The Lakers could also leave the trade open like the Wizards did with Westbrook and see if they can upgrade Warren and LeVert for a starting point guard. The key is acquiring Myles Turner so AD only has to play the five part-time.

The Lakers could play LeBron at the one with Reaves at the two, Warren at the three, Davis at the four, and Turner at the Five. That’s a big lineup that can play small with five out sets or go big and play bully ball in the paint.

PG: LEBRON JAMES, Rajon Rondo, Isaiah Thomas
SG: AUSTIN REAVES, Malik Monk, Wayne Ellington
SF:
T.J.WARREN, Caris LeVert, Kent Bazemore
PF: ANTHONY DAVIS, Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza
CE:
MYLES TURNER, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan

2. Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons, Danny Green, and Furkan Korkmaz

Ben Simmons, Point Guard: 14.3/7.2/6.9 on 55.7/30.0/61.3% (2020)
Danny Green, Shooting Guard: 7.0/2.7/1.2 on 41.5/38.3/100.0%
Furkan Korkmaz, Shooting Guard: 8.4/2.9/2.4 on 37.4/29.5/82.1%

While Russell Westbrook is not on the Philadelphia 76ers’ list of 30 players for whom they’re willing to trade Ben Simmons, the Lakers should be patient because it’s unlikely any team is going to offer more than Russ for Ben.

The 76ers are in a tough situation, currently sitting in 9th place in the East and in the midst of a 3-game losing streak. They desperately need to make a move to trade Ben for a point guard who can lead them to the playoffs. Russell Westbrook is the best point guard the Sixers are going to be able to trade for and Daryl Morey will eventually realize that and make the necessary move to trade Ben Simmons for the best they can get to save their season.

For the Lakers, swapping Russell Westbrook for Ben Simmons gives them the size and defense they need to be a legitimate championship contenders and a rare third All-NBA defender who can guard all five positions. Ultimately, the Lakers could also move Simmons from point guard to power forward or even to small ball center, a position that would optimize Ben’s great defensive ability and allow him to play point center ala Nikola Jokic.

The Lakers could play Ben at the one with Reaves at the two, Green at the three, LeBron at the four, and Davis at the Five. That too is a big lineup that can play small with five out sets or go big and play bully ball in the paint.

PG: BEN SIMMONS, Rajon Rondo, Isaiah Thomas
SG: AUSTIN REAVES, Malik Monk, Wayne Ellington
SF:
DANNY GREEN, Furkan Korkmaz, Kent Bazemore,
PF: LEBRON JAMES, Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza
CE: ANTHONY DAVIS, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan

3. Boston Celtics: Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Josh Richardson

Jaylen Brown, Shooting Guard: 21.1/5.4/2.4 on 46.6/38.4/75.4%
Marcus Smart, Shooting Guard: 11.0/4.0/5.6 on 38.3/27.6/76.4%
Josh Richardson, Shooting Guard: 9.9/2.8/1.2 on 46.0/37.5/81.6%

The Boston Celtics are another team struggling against expectations this season and desperately looking for a point guard who can run the offense. Russell Westbrook would be a major upgrade over Marcus Smart.

The Celtics are currently sitting in 8th place in the East with a 15–15 record. There have been minor conflicts and squabbles between Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Jason Tatum over sharing the ball and shooting too much. With a new GM and head coach, Boston needs a major move to resurrect their season and trading Brown, Smart, and Richardson for Westbrook, Horton-Tucker, and Nunn is the bold move they need to get back on track.

For the Lakers, Jaylen Brown is the perfect third superstar to replace Russell Westbrook. Brown is a 20-points per game scorer who shoots 38.4% on 7 threes per game. At 6' 6,” 223 lbs, Brown’s a perfect fit at the three for LA. Marcus Smart would be an ideal point guard and huge upgrade defensively for the Lakers. While he can be a streaky and unreliable 3-point shooter like Westbrook, Smart’s All-NBA defense is a perfect fit on the Lakers.

The Lakers could play Smart at the one with Reaves at the two, Brown at the three, LeBron at the four, and Davis at the Five. Another big lineup with the versatility to play small ball with three guards and play bully ball in the paint.

PG: MARCUS SMART, Rajon Rondo, Isaiah Thomas
SG: AUSTIN REAVES, Malik Monk, Wayne Ellington
SF:
JAYLEN BROWN, Josh Richardson, Kent Bazemore,
PF: LEBRON JAMES, Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza
CE: ANTHONY DAVIS, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan

If you enjoyed this article and want to share your ideas and comments with other Lakers fans, please join us at Lakerholics.Com.

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Lakers fanatic since 1971 when team traded for Wilt Chamberlain. Founder, editor, and publisher of Lakerholics.com, a community for smart informed Lakers fans.

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LakerTom

LakerTom

Lakers fanatic since 1971 when team traded for Wilt Chamberlain. Founder, editor, and publisher of Lakerholics.com, a community for smart informed Lakers fans.

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