It’s not a secret that the Los Angeles Lakers are looking to upgrade over pending free agent point guard Dennis Schroder.
The veteran struggled during Los Angeles’ first-round playoff loss to the Phoenix Suns and is more than likely headed out of town. Recent reports have concluded that a sign-and-trade could be in the cards with the cash-strapped and asset-limited Lakers receiving some type of value in return.
That’s now been taken to a whole new level. According to Marc Spears of The Undefeated, there’s been talks surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers acquiring former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook in a trade with the Washington Wizards.
“There have also been talks about Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook being a potential candidate to move back home to Los Angeles in a sign-and-trade deal that could include free agent point guard Dennis Schroder, forward Kyle Kuzma and guard Talen Horton-Tucker, Spears reported.
The NBA insider also noted that Chris Paul could be an option for the Lakers. It’s something franchise legend and Hall of Famer Magic Johnson touched on one day after Paul’s Phoenix Suns saw their season end in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks. However, CP3 heading to Southern California seems to be a pipe dream. Los Angeles acquiring Westbrook is a different story.
How can the Los Angeles Lakers acquire Russell Westbrook?
From Washington’s perspective, moving off Westbrook after he put up a stellar season in the nation’s capital might not make a ton of sense. Fresh off a playoff appearance, the Wizards need to do everything possible to keep star Bradley Beal happy.
As of yet, he has not requested a trade. That could change this summer should the high-scoring shooting guard not like the direction the organization is headed in after the departure of long-time head coach Scott Brooks. Moving Westbrook might just create a rift, leading to unhappiness on the part of Mr. Beal.
With that said, adding Schroder, Kuzma and Horton-Tucker would be all about acquiring depth and young players to build for the future. Given what Washington paid for Westbrook and his bloated contract in a trade with the Houston Rockets ahead of the 2020-21 season, this would be seen as a win for the long-irrelevant organization.
As for the Lakers, they desperately need another playmaker to team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. While there’s certainly some questions about Westbrook’s efficiency at this stage in his career, he performed extremely well with the Wizards in 2020-21.
The nine-time All-Star averaged 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and a league-high 11.7 assists for Washington. Unfortunately, he shot a substandard 44% from the field, including a 32% mark from three-point range in 65 games.
The Los Angeles Lakers are not in a situation where they can be picky. Most of their long-term draft assets were sent to the New Orleans Pelicans in the trade for Anthony Davis ahead of the 2019-20 season. The other thing to focus on here is the fact that Westbrook is a native of Southern California and starred for UCLA.
Los Angeles is also over the cap and has a limited number of young players to entice other teams in a trade of this magnitude. It will be interesting to see if anything comes to fruition on this end.