NBA Trade Rumors: Should the Lakers Trade for Russell Westbrook This Off-Season?

In a league where championships don’t come easy, having won 17 of them, the Lakers know what it’s all about. And for a team that was coming off the highs of a championship looking to repeat, the 2020-21 season was an aberration. While L.A. saw both their superstars nurse serious injuries in the ‘road to repeat’ season, it was the ‘next man up’ mentality for Laker Nation all season.

Even though L.A. came swinging right out of the gate with a 21-6 record to top the West, injuries dictated the outcome rest of the season, as Phoenix beat the breaks of them in the 1st round. Now, it’s back to the drawing board for GM Rob Pelinka and the front office, as they look to capitalize on the generational talent they possess in James and Davis.

May 15, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) gets a high five from forward Anthony Davis (3) after a foul in the second quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

L.A. are actively shopping for an A-list point guard, as they look to potentially replace Dennis Schroder next season. Schroder has made his asking price abundantly clear, eyeing a 100-120 million $ deal this offseason.

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However, if the Lakers are seriously considering targeting a top tier guard, all potential deals include a sign-and-trade scenario for Dennis.

Lakers targeting Mr. Triple Double

Is Broadie coming to L.A? Recent reports suggest that the front office is actively considering a package which includes Dennis Schroder and Horton Tucker via a sign-and-trade and Kyle Kuzma in a deal for Wizards star Russell Westbrook.

Report: Lakers have discussed sign-and-trade with Dennis Schroder, Kyle Kuzma and Talen Horton-Tucker for Russell Westbrook https://t.co/NjWsHq42E5

— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) July 21, 2021

Marc J. Spears recently broke this story, as he aired the rumors saying“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, sources said.”

This offseason will provide a blueprint of L.A.’s succession planning. Talen Horton Tucker is a free agent this offseason, and Pelinka has shown clear intentions to sign the rising star. But given that the franchise pulled out of a done deal with Toronto’s Kyle Lowry over their refusal to let go of THT, chances are slim.

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Given Russ’ contract and salary earnings of over 90 million over the next 2 years, a sign-and-trade involving Schroder and THT along with either KCP or Kyle Kuzma is the only way forward.

While Mr. Triple Double averaged over 22.2ppg/11.5rpg/11.7apg in the past season with Washington, he and the Lakers share 1 unfortunate characteristic. Shooting is the common Achilles heel. With other teams loading up on shooting and wing depth, is a star who disappears in the playoffs worth it?

To L.A. next?

While the proposed Westbrook trade is highly lucrative on paper, it only partially answers the Lakers’ shooting woes. And even though the probability of acquiring a star guard looks slim, Pelinka needs to play the waiting game.

Mar 21, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Lakers injured forward LeBron James (left) and Anthony Davis against the Phoenix Suns during the first half at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

However, it would be in L.A’s best interest to re-sign Schroder and other assets if a potential A-lister like Bradley Beal becomes available. Besides, given Westbrook’s playoff history, it’s all a gamble. But, is it a gamble that Pelinka is willing to take?

Trade season coming up next.

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