February 16, 2021
NBA Trade Rumors: Wizards Could Acquire Kyle Lowry & Aron Baynes For Package Centered On Russell Westbrook

With a month to go before the 2021 trade deadline, rumors have started to swirl around All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook and his future with the Washington Wizards. The Wizards haven't made Westbrook available on the trading block, but as the team continues to struggle, some believe that they might consider moving him again this season. In a recent article, Greg Patuto of NBA Analysis Network came up with a blockbuster trade idea that would send "The Brodie" to the Toronto Raptors.

In the proposed scenario, the Wizards would be sending Westbrook and Alex Len to the Raptors in exchange for Kyle Lowry, Aron Baynes, and Stanley Johnson. If the deal went through, Patuto believes that it would help both teams improve their rosters. For the Raptors, the suggested trade would allow them to turn Lowry's expiring contract into a former MVP who could potentially form the Raptors' "Big Three" with Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet.

"If the Raptors are not going to re-sign Lowry in the offseason or sign him to an extension before, it would benefit them greatly to send him away in a trade. If the Raptors are able to land a player like Westbrook, it is even better. Westbrook has struggled shooting the ball but is still a productive score and fills up a stat sheet in many other ways. He would join Fred VanVleet in the backcourt, who was a priority for the Raptors in the offseason. This will form a bit of a big three with those two [and] Pascal Siakam."

Russell Westbrook #4 of the Washington Wizards dribbles in front of Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors during the first half at Capital One Arena on February 10, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Getty Images | Patrick Smith

Trading for Westbrook would undeniably be a huge gamble for the Raptors, but team president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri isn't the type of executive who's afraid of making such a move. If Westbrook could return to MVP form and become more consistent with his performance on both ends of the floor, he could turn the Raptors into a serious threat in the Eastern Conference this year.

For the Wizards, the proposed scenario would enable them to hit two birds with one stone. Aside from successfully getting rid of Westbrook and his massive salary, they would also be acquiring an immediate replacement at the starting point guard position in Lowry and a floor-spacing big man in Baynes.

Lowry may no longer be in his prime, but he remains a very reliable contributor on both ends of the floor. With the years he spent with the likes of DeMar DeRozan and Kawhi Leonard in Toronto, he has learned how to efficiently play with other superstars on the court, making him a better backcourt partner for Beal than Westbrook. Meanwhile, having a starting-caliber center who is capable of spacing the floor like Baynes would make it easier for Beal to penetrate the basket or kick the ball out when he's trapped by the opposing team's defense.

Pairing Lowry and Baynes with Beal may not be enough to make the Wizards an instant favorite to bring home the Larry O'Brien Trophy, but it could give them a better chance of returning to the playoffs this year.