Lakers’ Best Trade Packages for Russell Westbrook Should Include Both Picks
The bad news is the Lakers’ tradeable players have played so poorly their only value this summer will be as salary filler. The good new is Russ’ expiring deal will have value and the Lakers will have two draft picks to trade this summer.
This summer, the Lakers will need to combine Russell Westbrooks $47 million expiring contract with their unprotected 2027 and 2029 post-LeBron first round picks to create the best possible trade package to upgrade their roster. The Lakers saw at the trade deadline how Westbrook, Horton-Tucker, and Nunn had lost trade value but also how even their 2027 first round pick had greater value than expected. It was key to every failed deal at the deadline.
Packaging Westbrook’s expiring contract with their two first round picks dramatically expands what the Lakers should be able to get in a trade as salaries become easier to match when the total dollars involved is higher. Considering the trades that were available to the Lakers at the deadline for one first round draft pick, imagine what Pelinka might be able to negotiate if he offered two post-LeBron unprotected first round picks with Westbrook.
NBA teams make trades for different reasons, often to clear cap space for the future or avoid luxury taxes. Here are three trades of Russell Westbrook and their 2027 and 2029 first round picks the Lakers should target this summer.
1. Trade with Indian Pacers for Turner, Brogdon, and Hield
The Lakers have always been interested in Myles Turner and now that the Pacers are in the middle of a major rebuild, the timing could be right for them to trade Russ’ expiring contract and their two first round picks for Myles.
Per HoopsHype, the Pacers are still looking to trade Malcolm Brogdon and Buddy Hield this summer and would consider including center Myles Turner for “two first-round picks or a promising young player and a first-round pick.” The Lakers should offer Westbrook, Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn, and their 2027 and 2029 first round draft picks for Myles Turner, Malcolm Brogdon, and Buddy Hield, each of whom would immediately start for the Lakers.
Indiana should be at the top of the list of possible trading partners for Russell Westbrook since they’re looking to move multiple long-term contracts to clear up cap space down the road and acquire first round picks and young talent. While the Pacers will have to pay Westbrook, Horton-Tucker, and Nunn $62 million for next season, they will save over $125 million over the next three years by getting out of Turner’s, Brogdon’s, and Hield’s player contracts.
The Pacers’ Myles Turner, Malcolm Brogdon, and Buddy Hield should be the Lakers top trade target this summer. It would add championship quality starters to complement James and Davis without increasing annual salaries.
2. Trade with Houston Rockets for Wood, Gordon, and Wall
If the Lakers can’t pull off a trade with the Indiana Pacers for Myles Turner, they should turn their attention to trading with the Houston Rockets for Christian Wood, a stretch five center who can block shots and shoot threes.
Per Brian Windhorst, the Lakers turned down a potential mega deal with the Houston Rockets at the trade deadline “involving Russell Westbrook, Talen Horton-Tucker, and 2027 first round pick for John Wall and Christian Wood.” The Lakers should offer Westbrook, Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn, Stanley Johnson, and their 2027 and 2029 first round draft picks for Christian Wood, Eric Gordon, and John Wall, each of whom would be a starter for the Lakers.
The Lakers also know they could have traded Russell Westbrook and their 2027 first round draft pick to the Rockets at the trade deadline for John Wall so the proposed trade with two draft picks could be attractive to Houston. Word from Houston is the motivation to trade Wall for Westbrook is the Rockets believe Westbrook will be more willing than Wall to buy his way out of the last year of his contract, which could save the Rockets some money.
Targeting a trade for Wood, Gordon, and Wall should be the Lakers second priority this summer. While it would dramatically increase the $3 million in luxury taxes the Lakers will play this year, it would be a championship team.
3. Trade with New York Knicks for Rose, Randle, and Reddish
If the Lakers can’t make a trade for Myles Turner or Christian Wood, then they should focus their attention on Julius Randle of the New York Knicks, who is rumored to have asked the Knicks to trade him to another team this summer.
According to sources, Julius Randle and the Knicks are headed for a divorce because he “feels the FO hasn’t supported him through tough times this year and promises about how the offense would go through him has stopped.” The Lakers should offer Russell Westbrook’s $47 million expiring contract and their 2027 and 2029 first round draft picks for Julius Randle, Derrick Rose, and Cam Reddish, each of whom is an excellent fit next to LeBron and AD.
While the Knicks supposedly have no interest in trading for Russell Westbrook at the trade deadline, the lure of his $47 million expiring contract and two post-LeBron first round draft picks could change their mind and direction. Russ would be great playing in Madison Square Garden and knows the East well after his time with the Washington Wizards. The trade would allow the Knicks to move on from the Randle mistake while getting two great picks.
Trading Westbrook for Randle, Rose, and Redding not only gives the Lakers three starting quality players for Russ but also breaks Russ’ $47 million into three smaller more easily tradeable contracts of $14, $26, and $6 million.
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