Russell Westbrook’s inaugural campaign with the Los Angeles Lakers was an unmitigated disaster. Not only did they fail to make the playoffs after coming into the season with title aspirations, but they flamed out in particularly humiliating fashion.
Westbrook’s bad attitude, disregard for his coaches and rapidly deteriorating skill set is a matter of public record. One would think that all those things would preclude anyone from wanting to acquire him from LA.
As it turns out, his $47 million expiring contract heading into next year may turn him into something of a desirable asset.
Last week, NBA insider Marc Stein reported that the Charlotte Hornets were taking a serious look at possibly bringing Westbrook onboard.
Jovan Buha of The Athletic expounded on that initial report during a recent appearance on The Forum Club podcast.
“I trust Marc Stein’s reporting obviously so I’m gonna include Charlotte in there,” he said.
“I think New York and in that rumored deal that had initially been in some form of Fournier, Kemba, and Julius Randle seem to be very unhappy there. … I think the other one is just in terms of math and making it work, Houston. … I guess my top three will probably be again Houston, New York and Charlotte, based on what I’ve heard and what other people have reported.”
In addition to the Rockets, Knicks and Hornets – a fourth team entered the mix on Monday.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Indiana Pacers are also worth keeping an eye on as it pertains to Westbrook.
“The Indiana Pacers could emerge as a potential suitor for Westbrook, rival executives believe, but any trade involving the former NBA MVP will be complicated due to his massive salary and the Lakers’ next available first-round draft pick being in 2027, which the franchise will prioritize and thus be prudent in deciding the best route with Westbrook,” he wrote.
This will be an interesting story to monitor.
An absolutely heartbreaking post. https://t.co/bGEr21x5ia
— Game 7 (@game7__) April 11, 2022
The Lakers badly need to get rid of Westbrook and move on. If they’re actually able to do that this offseason, which many felt like they might not, then there is a chance to right the ship next year.
How will LA go about dumping their worst offseason acquisition since Steve Nash? Time will tell.