NBA executive proposes Lakers-Pistons trade involving Russell Westbrook, Kemba Walker and others

Jonathan Sherman
5 Min Read

As the 2022-23 NBA season inches closer, people around the league are still trying to figure out what the Los Angeles Lakers’ plans are regarding former MVP Russell Westbrook.

At times this offseason, a trade sending Westbrook to an opposing team has seemed imminent. However, no such deal has yet taken place. For the time being, the two most likely trade partners seem to be the Utah Jazz and Indiana Pacers.

However, an NBA executive recently brought up another team that could be an option for the Lakers as a trade partner: the Detroit Pistons.

The exec spoke with Sean Deveney of to break down the potential move.

“I’d be willing to get involved if I were the Pistons,” the executive said. “I would want that 2027 pick unprotected, and take back Russell Westbrook and send you all my veterans, all my junk. Right now, Detroit is taking the approach of just waiting, playing with the guys they got from the [New York] Knicks, and trading during the season. That team needs to tank some more, they need [Victor] Wembanyama, or at least they need to be in the mix.”

The executive then broke down some of the players the Pistons could send in exchange for Westbrook.

“Send back Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel and [Kelly] Olynyk and Kemba [Walker]. The Lakers would be doing a 1-for-4 deal there, so they’d have to move guys around. … You have some tradeable contracts, and you have some veterans you can use for depth. I’d consider it on both sides.”

The deal would work from a financial standpoint.

Russell Westbrook

At first glance, it’s hard to imagine how any of these players would be major contributors to a championship-winning squad. While a championship may seem very unlikely for the Lakers this season, that is still the goal.

Still, it is not as though the deal wouldn’t help the Lakers at all. First off, they’d be getting Westbrook off the team, which could potentially improve morale within the locker room. Aside from that, it’s not as if the players they’d be acquiring don’t come with strengths.

Burks averaged 11.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game last season. He’s a solid and versatile wing that can also stretch the floor with his shooting ability.

Noel is a stout defender, and while his numbers don’t jump off the stat sheet, he could be a major defensive addition alongside Anthony Davis in the frontcourt. Olynyk is a hustle player who averaged 9.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game last season.

As for Walker, he was once a star but has taken many steps backwards since his body began to seemingly fall apart from the wear and tear of his career. Still, if he can stay healthy, he could serve as a potential competitor for the starting point guard position.

With that in mind, Walker is currently seen as a buyout candidate for the Pistons. It had been previously reported that the two sides were finalizing a buyout.

However, Walker hasn’t been officially bought out of his contract yet. According to James L. Edwards III of The Athletic, it’s very possible that things haven’t been finalized because Walker might be unsure “that he can sign with another team and make up some of the money he gave back.”

As for the Pistons, it’s not totally clear why Westbrook would be an enticing addition, and the Lakers’ 2027 first-round pick may not be enough to get them to bite.

The Pistons are a young and rebuilding team, and they have Cade Cunningham as their point guard of the future. Getting Westbrook in the mix could do more harm than good for the young professional.

Still, it seems the Pistons may be a team to keep an eye on going forward as the Lakers continue to try to find a trade partner for Westbrook.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.