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Los Angeles Lakers receiving Russell Westbrook trade calls; are interested in Wizards star player

Vincent Frank

The Los Angeles Lakers find themselves with the second-worst record in the NBA at 2-9. They have lost four consecutive games, all by double digits. LeBron James is sidelined to a minor injury. There’s renewed questions about the supporting cast behind him.

Everything seems to be going swimmingly, right? At the very least, enigmatic veteran Russell Westbrook has turned things around since he was sent to the bench. The former NBA MVP is averaging 18.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 7.1 assists on 50% shooting since taking on a Sixth Man role.

Apparently, this has led to other teams calling the Lakers up about his availability after a summer filled with trade rumors.

“With Russell Westbrook thriving in his new role as a sixth man, the Lakers are now receiving calls about his availability,” Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report noted on Thursday.

There had been some talk about the Lakers packaging multiple future first-round picks as a way to both unload Westbrook and find other pieces that work better with LeBron James. They might now be reluctant to do that after a disastrous start to the season. In fact, Los Angeles is a mere 14-39 in its past 53 games dating back to last season.

For general manager Rob Pelinka and Co., they have to find a happy medium between returning the Lakers to contention with James in the mix and having some sense of relevancy in the future. Right now, it’s a tightrope they are walking.

Related: Los Angeles Lakers standing in Sportsnaut’s updated NBA power rankings

Can the Los Angeles Lakers pull off a Russell Westbrook trade?

los angeles lakers russell westbrook trade
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a lot of moving parts here. Previous reports suggested that Los Angeles would look to move Westbrook after Thanksgiving in order to give this current iteration of the team a chance to prove itself. After losing nine of its first 11, Los Angeles is nowhere near a playoff contender out west. That could change the dynamics a bit.

Meanwhile, Westbrook’s contract could soon prove to be valuable. That is to say, he’s slated to become a free agent next summer. Teams being able to unload long-term deals for expiring contracts are those who are most likely to show interest in Westbrook, heightening his value in trade talks in the process.

For Los Angeles, it’s then all about figuring out how to find a happy medium between short-term contention and long-term success. The team is not simply going to take on bad contracts to move Westbrook, creating further issues down the line.

One possible scenario here is reengaging the Indiana Pacers in trade talks surrounding Westbrook, Buddy Hield and Myles Turner. The two had conversations this past summer about a trade. But Los Angeles pushed back against offering up any of its limited draft assets — primarily multiple first-round picks — to get it done.

Related: Los Angeles Lakers were unwilling to commit long-term to Kyrie Irving in trade talks

Los Angeles Lakers interested Bradley Beal trade

los angeles lakers bradley beal trade
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Another tidbit from Haynes’ report suggests that the Lakers are in on this recently-extended Washington Wizards star.

“A star player whom the Lakers are known to covet is Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal, sources say. Going after the 10-year veteran would only be an option if Beal were to request a trade, a tactic he has been reluctant to exercise,” report on Los Angeles Lakers’ interest in Bradley Beal.

This isn’t a move the Lakers can make in-season. They can’t move the first-round pick swap in the 2023 NBA Draft, acquired from the New Orleans Pelicans in the Anthony Davis blockbuster, until they actually make that selection next June.

Outside of this, Los Angeles has two future first-round selections to offer up. That’s not going to create a game-changing move to construct a roster capable of contention. Just look at what the Utah Jazz received for both Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert this past summer.

Either way, the Lakers are expected to be active ahead of the NBA trade deadline. If he continues to perform well, Russell Westbrook could end up being a nice chip as an expiring contract.