According to Bleacher Report’s latest list of trade ideas for the Los Angeles Lakers, the team could acquire Russell Westbrook from the Houston Rockets for a package featuring five rotation players and the No. 28 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
In his list of proposed deals to help the Lakers acquire a third star alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Bleacher Report‘s Dan Favale pointed out the recent reports suggesting Westbrook wants to leave the Rockets because he wants to return to his previous “floor-general role.” He wrote that the allegedly disgruntled point guard has a contract that makes him quite difficult to trade, given that he is owed $132.6 million over the next three seasons.
As suggested by Favale, the Lakers could send guards Avery Bradley and Quinn Cook, forwards Danny Green and Kyle Kuzma, center JaVale McGee, and this year’s No. 28 draft choice to the Rockets in exchange for Westbrook and the team’s 2022 first-round selection. This protected pick will immediately be converted to two second-round choices if Houston doesn’t end up in the top 10 of that year’s draft. Additionally, it was noted that Bradley and McGee would need to opt into the final year of their respective contracts in order for the deal to work.
While it’s hard to say whether Westbrook could fit in with the Lakers if he gets traded to Los Angeles, Bleacher Report explained that the 2016-17 NBA MVP is capable of sharing the floor with another top-tier playmaker.
“His time off the rock just needs to be limited. The Lakers can stagger his minutes from LeBron, who’s also capable of being used in ways [James] Harden could not when they play together. Imagine him screening for Russ, provided L.A. has enough shooting around them.”
Regarding the protected first-rounder from the 2022 rookie class, Favale wrote that Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka should insist that the selection be included in the package. As Harden has also been the subject of trade rumors, there’s a possibility the Rockets might turn out to be a lottery team if the 2019-20 scoring champion also gets moved elsewhere.
While the suggested transaction is similar to many of those that would theoretically allow the Lakers to land Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul, Favale wrote that the deal would likely be easier for the Rockets than it would be for the Thunder. He added that Houston might still have to make some additional moves, but would at least be able to save close to $100 million over the remainder of Westbrook’s contract. Further, the organization would get three players in Bradley, Green, and Kuzma who could potentially keep them in playoff contention going forward.