3 realistic Russell Westbrook trades that would move the needle for the Lakers

Peter Dewey
8 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers have been relatively quiet this offseason outside of their trade for guard Patrick Beverley, but one key player could be on the move prior to the start of the 2022-23 regular season.

It has been reported that the Lakers may look to move on from former MVP Russell Westbrook by the start of training camp, and if they do, it could help the team build a more balanced roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

After losing guard Malik Monk in free agency, the Lakers lack outside shooting on their current roster. Westbrook, who struggled with his jump shot in the 2021-22 season, never really meshed with the team on offense, leading to one of the worst seasons of his NBA career.

The nine-time All-Star finished the 2021-22 season averaging 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 29.8 percent from beyond the arc.

With James and Davis being the focal points of the offense when they are healthy, the Lakers may be better off moving Westbrook for complementary players that can play off the ball.

However, finding a trade for Westbrook won’t be easy for Los Angeles. He is owed a massive salary for the 2022-23 season after opting into his player option, and the Lakers would likely need to trade draft capital to a team to get any impactful players in return.

The Lakers could always decide to keep Westbrook for the 2022-23 season, but it would make more sense if the team tried to maximize each season that it has James under contract.

After failing to make the playoffs with Westbrook in the 2021-22 campaign, one would think the Lakers would like to switch things up to build a more competitive roster before the NBA’s regular season kicks off next month.

Here are three potential packages the Lakers could acquire for Westbrook this offseason.

1. Buddy Hield and Myles Turner

Buddy Hield

The trade: Russell Westbrook, 2027 first-round pick, 2029 first-round pick swap for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner

Russell Westbrook, Buddy Hield and Myles Turner

The Indiana Pacers have widely been reported as a potential destination for Westbrook, as the Lakers seemingly have interest in guard Buddy Hield and center Myles Turner.

However, the Pacers aren’t going to give those players away and take on Westbrook’s contract for no reason. Los Angeles would likely need to part ways with at least one first-round pick if not multiple to facilitate a deal.

The Pacers, who are in the midst of a rebuild, missed out on Deandre Ayton this offseason when the Phoenix Suns matched their offer sheet for him.

Now, the Pacers can jump-start their rebuild by getting more assets, such as picks from Los Angeles, by moving veterans like Hield and Turner.

Hield would be an elite option to space the floor for the Lakers in the 2022-23 season.

During the 2021-22 campaign, Hield averaged 15.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game while shooting 40.6 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from 3-point range.

While Hield’s efficiency was down from beyond the arc compared to that of the previous season, he still is a career 39.8 percent shooter from deep.

Turner would also be a great fit, as he can stretch the floor from the center position. In the 2021-22 campaign, Turner shot 33.3 percent from beyond the arc, and he is a career 34.9 percent shooter from 3-point range.

The 26-year-old also is a fantastic shot-blocker, which would make the Lakers a solid defensive unit if he were to share the floor with Davis.

These players would come at a price, and the Lakers have to gauge whether or not they’d be willing to give up future first-round picks for a temporary fix to their roster in the 2022-23 season.

2. Bojan Bogdanovic and Mike Conley

Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic

The trade: Russell Westbrook, 2027 first-round pick, 2029 second-round pick for Bojan Bogdanovic and Mike Conley

Russell Westbrook, Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic

The Utah Jazz are an interesting trade partner for the Lakers as well, as they have entered a rebuild after trading away Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell this offseason.

Utah has several veterans, including Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson, who could all be of interest to the Lakers in a potential deal.

Los Angeles reportedly is interested in acquiring Bogdanovic, who is a free agent after the 2022-23 season.

The Jazz would almost certainly require draft picks from the Lakers to help complete a deal, as the team amassed a large sum of picks in both the Gobert and Mitchell trades.

If the Lakers’ goal is to win now, it may be worth giving up the future picks. However, the team would likely need to take on two of the veteran players mentioned to help balance out salaries since Westbrook is owed over $47 million in the 2022-23 season.

3. Julius Randle and Evan Fournier

Julius Randle and Talen Horton-Tucker

The trade: Russell Westbrook, 2027 first-round pick for Julius Randle and Evan Fournier

Russell Westbrook, Evan Fournier and Julius Randle

The New York Knicks missed out on the Mitchell sweepstakes, and they could be a sneaky team to enter the Westbrook trade talks this offseason.

The Knicks have some long-term contracts on the books that they may be interested in moving off of in exchange for taking on a year of Westbrook’s salary.

The benefit for the Lakers here is that New York may be willing to do a swap that doesn’t involve multiple picks if it truly just wants to shed salary.

However, after signing Jalen Brunson this offseason, the Knicks appear to be looking to compete in the 2022-23 season rather than tank. Trading away some veteran pieces would hurt the Knicks’ depth a bit unless they found a way to fit Westbrook into the rotation.

For the Lakers, this could make sense as they’d bring in proven veterans that can score at volume and play off of James and Davis. Fournier specifically would be a great spot-up shooter for the Lakers, though his contract is likely more than Los Angeles would like it to be.

At the end of the day, the Lakers have a difficult decision to make with Westbrook. They can keep him on the team and protect their future picks, but it may cost them in the 2022-23 season.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.