Lakers Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Russell Westbrook, John Wall Talks

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 26, 2022

Los Angeles Lakers' Russell Westbrook (0) reacts during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022 in New York. The Lakers won 106-96. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

The Los Angeles Lakers have been disappointing this season, but they reportedly don't want to lose one of their future assets in an effort to shake things up.

Insider Marc Stein (h/t RealGM) reported the Lakers do not want to include their 2027 first-round pick in a hypothetical trade that would send Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for John Wall.

Moving Westbrook would also signal that the team sees the trade with the Washington Wizards that happened this past offseason as something of a failure.

Los Angeles sent Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell and a first-round pick to the Wizards for Westbrook and two future second-round picks. Trading the point guard before he even reaches the All-Star break of his first season with the team would be quite the development, especially since there is no guarantee that Wall will be an upgrade.

After all, Wall hasn't played a game since April and hasn't played more than 41 games in a season since the 2016-17 campaign. He also missed the entire 2019-20 season.

There was a time when the University of Kentucky product was one of the best point guards in the league as a five-time All-Star who could blow past defenders in transition and carry the Wizards on his back for stretches, but injuries may have sapped much of that explosiveness.

For all the concerns about Westbrook's poor outside shooting, turnovers and fit alongside LeBron James, he has at least been durable throughout much of his career and is a triple-double threat every time he steps on the court.

Still, Marc J. Spears of ESPN's The Undefeated recently reported on The Hoop Collective podcast (23:00 mark) that Westbrook was the only "realistic" target for the Rockets if they were going to trade Wall:

"I was told that they have a couple on the table, several on the table, but the only one that's really has some, you know, realistic potential to it is with the Lakers for Russ. They actually make, I don't know if it's nearly to the same dollar, but a similar salary, so you can trade them one-for-one without including anybody else. That 2027 Laker pick that you mentioned before, that first-round pick, seems to be pretty coveted, and I would expect it to be included in such a deal. But John's in Miami. He's been working out. He actually asked the Rockets for permission to be in Miami so he could be near his kids and focus on working out."

The Lakers apparently don't want to include that future first-round pick, which would give Westbrook more time to adjust to his new role as the Purple and Gold look to build on Tuesday's win over the Brooklyn Nets and turn things around before the playoffs.