What Trades Can The Lakers Make Without Russell Westbrook?
The Los Angeles Lakers have been involved in many trade rumors in the early season. Being a big market team with a rich history and having LeBron James on the team, LA will always be in rumors.
Many of them have involved Russell Westbrook, who has thrived in his role as the 6th man. In nine games off the bench, Westbrook is averaging 18.3 points and 8.1 assists while shooting 44.9 percent from the field and 41.5 percent from three.
Although bigger trades would include Westbrook due to his contract, LA has a route to make moves without him.
The Lakers have a surplus at guard and Schroder’s return will likely cut Kendrick Nunn’s minutes. Nunn has struggled early on, averaging just 4.7 points, shooting 30.9 percent from the field and 22.9 percent from downtown.
His $5.25 million dollar contract could help the Lakers in a deal. However, the major trade value for LA comes from their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks. Rob Pelinka and the front office has been reluctant to move those picks, to the frustration of fans.
LeBron committed to Los Angeles this summer by signing a two-year $97 million dollar extension. With an All-Time great committing to the team, you would think the front office would do the same and build the best team around him.
“[The Lakers’] preference is to wait for the returns of Dennis Schröder and Thomas Bryant before making judgments that could lead to changes.”— Lakers All Day Everyday (@LADEig) November 14, 2022
- @TheSteinLine on the Lakers making a trade pic.twitter.com/exWM1H3yYW
“It’s a discredit when you got a transcendent franchise player… why wouldn’t you surround that when you got the picks to maximize what he can do?”— Lakers All Day Everyday (@LADEig) November 18, 2022
LeBron just took a shot at the Lakers front office when discussing Aaron Rodgers and the Packers 👀
LeBron didn’t directly call out the Lakers front office, but it is clear that he is all about maximizing the talent around superstar players.
In a trade without Westbrook, Los Angeles may have to include a third team. They could match salaries by including Nunn and Patrick Beverley, but it is unlikely for Beverley to moved as LA acquired him in the offseason.
Ideal trade targets for the Lakers, include sharpshooter Buddy Hield, center Myles Turner, forward Bojan Bogdanovic, and wing Josh Richardson. Without Westbrook involved, LA could only acquire one of Hield and Turner. Bogdanovic would give the Lakeshow a major upgrade at forward, as he is playing at a high level. Richardson is a cheaper option, and would be a great 3&D fit.
In order to acquire any of these guys, Los Angeles will have to include at least one of their draft picks.
We will see how aggressive Pelinka and the front office is to save the season, as the Lakers sit at 4-10.