Ten Trades to Enable Lakers to Escape the Russell Westbrook Hamster Wheel
While the Lakers are probably not ready to admit trading for Russ was a mistake and the odds they pull off a trade for him before the deadline slim or none, the NBA has proven over and over that no contract is untradeable.
Whether teams are looking to add star power, attract more fans, swap longer contracts for shorter ones, or create cap space via expiring contracts, the Lakers should have no shortage of potential trading partners for Westbrook. They may have to package Russell with promising young talent like Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn, Malik Monk, or Austin Reaves and their 2027 first round pick but they should have the chips for a blockbuster trade.
That’s the good news for the Lakers. The question is whether they should throw the second half of what’s already been a chaotic season into more turmoil by pulling the plug on the Westbrook experiment midseason. There’s a good argument the Lakers haven’t seen enough of the James, Davis, and Westbrook superstar big three to make a decision since they have only played around 10% of the minutes the team’s played so far this season.
But here’s also a good argument trading for Russ has put the Lakers in an unwinnable situation due to the chaotic style, luxury taxes, and poor spacing that always comes with him makes the roster top heavy and difficult to coach. Bottom line, the Lakers are in full win-now mode, which means they’re going to look at every possible option to improve the team, even if it means trading Russell Westbrook less than six months after betting the franchise on him.
Here are ten trades of Westbrook and Horton-Tucker to free the Lakers from the never-ending, constantly grinding Russell Westbrook hamster wheel and the accompanying turnovers, blown layups, and constant chaos.
1. Trade for Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris
Morey wants star player and ability to dump Harris 3-year contract for Ben. Russ, THT, Nunn, and the Lakers 2027 first round pick could be the best offer the Sixers will get. Adding Monk or Reaves could make Morey blink.
2. Trade for Myles Turner, T.J. Warren, Caris LeVert, Jeremy Lamb
The Pacers do not want a complete rebuild and Russ could be exactly what they want to remain competitive while getting younger and raising upside. Could also be an excellent foundation for an expanded multi-team trade.
3. Trade for Harrison Barnes, Buddy Hield, Damian Jones
Kings are another team that could thrive with Westbrook. They move three players they no longer want for Russ and a promising young star in THT to grow with Haliburton and Mitchell. Fox could replace Barnes or Hield.
4. Trade for Goran Dragic, OG Anunoby, Chris Boucher, Gary Trent, Jr.
Raptors are another team trying to rebuild while still remaining competitive. Russ could help them win while clearing max cap space after next season. New beginnings for several players who disappointed on current teams.
5. Trade for Danilo Gallinari, Delon Wright, John Collins
Hawks ready to move on from Gallo, Collins, and Wright so Russ can help them compete in the short term and give them cap space for free agents in the long term. Meanwhile, Russ backs up Ja Morant at point guard.
6. Trade for Derrick Favors, Mike Muscala, Kenrich Williams.
The Thunder are the one team who might take on Russell Westbrook as a salary dump. THT is the sweetener to get the Thunder to bite. Muscala and Williams would both be bargain additions who fit perfectly on the Lakers.
7. Trade for Eric Gordon, D.J. Augustin, Christian Wood, Daniel Theis
The Rockets are another team for whom THT would be the sweetener to take back Russell Westbrook’s contract’s remaining one and a half years. They clear out Gordon’s contract and get rid of Wood, who wants out.
8. Trade for Terrence Ross, Gary Harris, Mo Bamba, Cole Anthony
This is a Russell Westbrook trade proposed by Gerald Glassford of Lakers Fast Break Podcasts. Lakers basically get rid of everybody they don’t want in return for some pretty good assets from the Magic. No sweeteners for Magic.
9. Trade with Sixers for Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier
The Hornets would love to get out of Hayward’s contract to create cap space and Russ will let them continue to win but open up cap space earlier. Nunn replaces Rozier and THT is the sweetener to get them to take on Russ.
10. Trade for Evan Fournier, Nerlens Noel, Julius Randle
The Knicks are in free fall and who better to save them than Russell Westbrook. They dump Randle’s and Fournier’s contracts, get promising young star in THT. Lakers can throw in their 2027 first rounder if needed.
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