NBA Rumors: Lakers Could Acquire Three Players In Proposed Russell Westbrook-To-Pelicans Blockbuster

Wikimedia Commons

JB Baruelo

The Los Angeles Lakers traded for All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook last summer with the hope that he could boost their chances of fully dominating the Western Conference and winning the NBA championship title. Unfortunately, as of now, Westbrook is yet to live up to expectations as the Lakers' third star and is noticeably struggling to make himself fit alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

If he fails to show improvement with his performance and chemistry with James and Davis, there's a growing belief around the league that the Lakers may consider moving Westbrook before the 2022 NBA trade deadline.

Russell Westbrook To New Orleans Pelicans

Wikimedia Commons

Westbrook may be considered an odd fit in Los Angeles but once he becomes officially available on the trade block, he's expected to receive strong interest from teams that are in dire need of additional star power on their roster. According to Lee Tran of Fadeaway World, one of the potential suitors of Westbrook before the 2022 NBA trade deadline is the New Orleans Pelicans.

Having the second-worst record in the Western Conference, the Pelicans obviously need help to have a realistic chance of ending their playoff drought this season. Though they aren't a legitimate title contender, they should strongly consider upgrading their roster if they want to keep Zion Williamson happy in New Orleans.

Proposed Lakers-Pelicans Trade Centered On Russell Westbrook

Wikimedia Commons

The Pelicans won't need to pay the king's ransom to acquire Westbrook, but they would still need to come up with an intriguing offer to convince the Lakers to make a deal. In the proposed trade scenario by Fadeaway World, the Pelicans would be sending a trade package that includes Jonas Valanciunas, Devonte' Graham, and Tomas Satoransky to the Lakers in exchange for Westbrook. If the trade becomes a reality, it would help both teams in filling up the needs to improve on their roster.

However, before they could push through with the deal, they would need to wait until mid-December since Graham just signed a new contract in the 2021 NBA free agency.

Pelicans Form 'Big 3' With Zion Williamson & Brandon Ingram

Trading for Westbrook definitely comes with a huge risk for the Pelicans. If things won't go well, his massive salary would affect their salary cap flexibility until the 2022-23 NBA season. However, if he could mesh well with Ingram and Williamson, Westbrook could help the Pelicans create a "Big Three" that could possibly change their fate in the league.

Westbrook's potential arrival in New Orleans would boost their performance on the offensive end of the floor. He would give them a walking triple-double machine. This season, the 33-year-old point guard is averaging 20.0 points, 8.4 rebounds, 8.6 assists, and 1.3 steals while shooting 43.1 percent from the field and 30.3 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN.

Lakers Turn Russell Westbrook Into Three Solid Role Players

Though they wouldn't replace him with an All-Star, the proposed blockbuster deal with the Pelicans would bring three solid role players to the Lakers. By unloading Westbrook and his massive salary to New Orleans, the Lakers would be acquiring a dominant, starting-caliber center in Valanciunas, a young point guard in Graham, and a veteran playmaker in Satoransky.

Having Valanciunas would enable Coach Frank Vogel to move Davis to the starting power forward position where he's more comfortable playing. Graham may not be as good as Westbrook, but he's the type of point guard who can excel in an off-ball capacity, making him an ideal fit alongside James.