Report: NBA executives say Lakers are waiting for ‘specific’ player they can trade Russell Westbrook and 1st-round picks for

Peter Dewey
5 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly are waiting for a “specific” player to trade Russell Westbrook and first-round picks in the 2027 and 2029 NBA drafts for.

Howard Beck reported on “The Crossover NBA Show” that other executives around the league believe the Lakers are waiting for a “bigger piece to come loose” to deal Westbrook.

Beck also revealed that the Lakers aren’t expected to make a deal with the Brooklyn Nets for Kyrie Irving or the Indiana Pacers for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield.

“I will add one thing without going into all the detail, but I was canvassing a bunch of front office folks last week when I was workshopping my idea of ‘Can the Nets tear down now? Should they just tear down now? What could they reasonably get for Kevin Durant? Could they get anything for Kyrie Irving? Could they get anything at all for Ben Simmons?’” said Beck. “And in those discussions, when I brought up the Lakers, the pushback I was getting was they’re waiting for a specific player. That they’re not doing the Pacer deal, that they won’t do the Kyrie deal now that we for sure thought they would do a couple months ago, is an indication that the Lakers are waiting for a bigger piece to come loose that they think they can trade Westbrook and the two future firsts for.”

The Lakers have gotten out to a slow start in the 2022-23 season, going just 2-8 through their first 10 games. Westbrook, who started the season slow, has played much better since head coach Darvin Ham moved him to the bench.

In six games off the bench this season, Westbrook is averaging 19.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game while shooting 51.3 percent from the field and 48.0 percent from 3-point range.

For comparison, Westbrook was shooting just 28.9 percent from the field and 8.3 percent from beyond the arc in his three games as a starter.

Chris Mannix asked Beck who he believes the player is that the Lakers are waiting for, but Beck would not reveal the answer on the show. Mannix questioned if the Lakers would even be able to acquire the mystery player for the package they have.

“Put it this way,” Mannix said. “I don’t know that the player, whoever that is that the Lakers may be targeting, would be acquirable for what they’re willing to give up.”

Even with Westbrook playing better, Beck agreed with Mannix’s sentiment.

“I don’t think so either, by the way,” Beck said. “I don’t think a Westbrook at this stage of his career plus two future firsts equals a difference-maker at that level, someone who is going to make you a contender.”

While fans can wonder who the player is that the Lakers want to acquire, the reality is that Los Angeles may not be good enough to wait for this player to become available.

The Lakers are in the No. 14 spot in the Western Conference through their first 10 games, and they may not have the time to wait to make a change if they really want to contend this season.

Los Angeles lacks outside shooting regardless if Westbrook is on the roster or not, and it may not make sense to trade two valuable first-round picks if the team isn’t even guaranteed to make the postseason in the 2022-23 campaign.

The Lakers certainly don’t want to waste another great season from LeBron James after missing the playoffs in the 2021-22 season, but the team has to show it can win games with the roster currently constructed as well.

The Lakers’ next chance to get a win will come on Wednesday against Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers. That game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. PST.

Share This Article
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.