Tea Jazz, Knicksand Pacers are among the teams that have spoken to the Lakers about possible trades involving point guard Russell Westbrook and draft assets, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The Lakers don’t appear to be close to making a deal with any of those teams, according to Charania, who notes that Westbrook trade talks could continue to take place over the remaining couple months of the offseason.
Because the cap hit on Westbrook’s expiring contract is so substantial ($47MM+), any team that acquires him would almost certainly have to send out at least two sizable contracts of its own. And since few teams can put together a package to match Westbrook’s salary without including at least one productive rotation player, potential trade partners are asking the Lakers for draft compensation in return for taking on Westbrook, who is coming off a disappointing year in Los Angeles.
The Lakers and Pacers have reportedly spoken about Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, but LA has been unwilling to meet Indiana’s asking price, which is believed to be two first-round picks. According to Bob Kravitz of The Athletic, the Lakers offered Westbrook, one first-rounder, and two second-round selections for Hield and Turner.
While they continue to gauge Donovan Mitchell‘s value on the trade market, the Jazz could offer some combination of veterans like Mike Conley ($22.68MM), Bojan Bogdanovic ($19.55MM), Jordan Clarkson ($13.34MM), and Rudy Gay ($6.18MM) in a deal for Westbrook and draft picks. Malik Beasley and Patrick Beverly are also potential Utah trade candidates who have eight-figure cap hits, though neither can be aggregated in a trade until September 6.
The Knicks’ possible high-priced trade candidates, meanwhile, include Julius Randle ($23.76MM), Evan Fournier ($18MM), Derrick Rose ($14.52MM), and Cam Reddish ($5.95MM), though the team would be more willing to move some of those players than others, and wouldn’t want to compromise its pursuit of Mitchell by jumping the gun on a separate deal involving Westbrook.
Marc Stein previously reported that Utah and New York were both considered by league executives to be possible landing spots for Westbrook. However, Stein suggests that the Jazz and Knicks were probably only viable trade partners for the Lakers if a Mitchell trade got done first — especially if Mitchell ended up in New York.
The thinking among those execs, Stein explained, is that the Knicks may look to move Randle and his long-term contract if they acquire Mitchell. The Jazz, on the other hand, would presumably be pivoting to a full-scale rebuild and would be open to trading more veterans for draft assets and cap flexibility if Mitchell is no longer on their roster.
It’s unclear if any of the Jazz, Knicks, or Pacers would keep Westbrook on their roster if they were to acquire him, or if they’d simply buy him out. Draft picks and/or future cap room would be the main motivators for any team trading for Westbrook.