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3 ideal Russell Westbrook trade scenarios from the Los Angeles Lakers

Vincent Frank

We’re going to hear a lot about a potential Russell Westbrook trade from the Los Angeles Lakers once the summer comes calling.

The former NBA MVP was a shell of his former self in his first (and likely only) season with the Lakers. There’s even rumors that Los Angeles might simply look to buy Westbrook out.

With that said, we’re expecting general manager Rob Pelinka and Co. to do what’s possible to move Westbrook for assets. There’s still some interest in his services. Below, we look at three ideal Russell Westbrook trade scenarios from the Los Angeles Lakers this summer.

Related: Updated NBA trade rumors

Russell Westbrook trade to the Charlotte Hornets

russell westbrook trade charlotte hornets
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
  • Hornets get: Russell Westbrook, 2nd-round pick
  • Lakers get: Gordon Hayward, Kelly Oubre Jr.

Los Angeles can’t expect to get a whole lot back for Westbrook given his major struggles a season ago and bloated contract. We’re talking about someone who still put up numbers, but acted as a net-negative in his first season with the Lakers.

At 33, Westbrook would likely bring the Lakers back players with question marks. That’s where Hayward comes into play. Despite playing pretty well over the past four seasons (15.6 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 3.8 APG, 38% 3-point), Hayward is an injury-plagued enigma. The idea would be for Los Angeles to bank on him returning to earlier-career form.

The kicker here would be a three-and-D wing in Oubre Jr., who actually played well for the Hornets a season ago. He averaged 15.0 points on 35% shooting from distance. This type of scoring is needed off the bench in Southern California.

We’re still not 100% sure why Michael Jordan and the Hornets have interest in a Russell Westbrook trade. LaMelo Ball has proven to be one of the better young point guards in the NBA. Perhaps, it’s to provide Ball with that veteran presence. The idea would also be to go with a three-guard lineup in Westbrook, Ball and Terry Rozier. Whether this makes sense remains to be seen.

Related: Russell Westbrook and NBA’s highest-paid players

Russell Westbrook trade to the Indiana Pacers

russell westbrook trade indiana pacers
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
  • Pacers get: Russell Westbrook, Talen Horton-Tucker, 2027 1st-round pick
  • Lakers get: Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. McConnell

Indiana has been linked to a Russell Westbrook trade since the February 10 NBA trade deadline. Coming off yet another non-playoff season, this team is building for the future. That includes hoping the young backcourt duo of Tyrese Haliburton and Chris Duarte can show out big time moving forward.

So, why would Indiana look to pick up Westbrook’s bloated contract? There’s a few reasons for it. First off, moving Brogdon would save the team $45 million after the 2022-23 season with him under contract two more years and Russ playing under an expiring.

Secondly, Indiana picks up a still-young 21-year-old Horton-Tucker who has shown flashes throughout his three-year NBA career. Adding a 2027 first-round pick to the mix helps here, too. Even if the Pacers reach a buyout agreement with Westbrook, this trade would be a net-positive.

From Los Angeles’ perspective, this is pretty much the best general manager Rob Pelinka and Co. can hope for. Brogdon, 29, has played at an All-Star level over the past three seasons — averaging 18.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 6.3 assists on 45% shooting. He’s a much better fit with LeBron James and Anthony Davis than Westbrook. McConnell would also provide a solid bench option at point guard.

Related: Los Angeles Lakers offseason rumors

Russell Westbrook trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers

russell westbrook trade cleveland  cavaliers
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
  • Cavaliers get: Russell Westbrook, 2027 1st-round pick, multiple 2nd-round picks
  • Lakers get: Kevin Love, Cedi Osman, Dylan Windler

After three injury-plagued seasons, Love turned it around for a surprising Cavaliers team in 2021-22. He averaged 13.6 points and 7.2 rebounds on 39% shooting from distance off the bench. Los Angeles could use that type of stretch-five given just how much Anthony Davis has struggled out on the perimeter since the Orlando Bubble.

  • Russell Westbrook contract: $47.06 million option for 2022-23

As you can see, Westbrook is under an expiring contract. The same thing can be said for a player in Love who is set to count $28.9 million against the cap in 2022-23. With the Cavaliers’ excess of front-court players, moving off Love for a veteran in the backcourt with star Darius Garland make sense. The team is also then able to add multiple draft picks for its troubles. This could work out for both sides.