Russell Westbrook Trade Rumors: Lakers Eye Deals Beyond Kyrie Irving, Pacers Package

Erin WalshAugust 12, 2022

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The Los Angeles Lakers are eyeing deals beyond a trade for Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving or a package from the Indiana Pacers in exchange for veteran point guard Russell Westbrook, according to Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times.

"If and when Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell get traded, the space to make a Westbrook trade probably opens a little wider with the costs getting cleared," Woike wrote. "Lakers sources insist they have options beyond the ones that have been reported (Irving, Buddy Hield, Myles Turner and others). Time should better reveal those once the bigger moves get made."

Irving has reportedly been interested in teaming up with his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate LeBron James in L.A. since before he opted in to his $36.9 million player option with the Nets for 2022-23.

On July 2, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that the Lakers and Nets were "actively engaged" in discussions centered around an Irving-Westbrook swap, adding that there was "palpable optimism" a deal could be reached this summer.

However, The Athletic's Jovan Buha reported last week that talks between the Lakers and Nets have ceased and likely won't resume until Kevin Durant, who requested a trade out of Brooklyn in June, is moved.

The Lakers and Pacers had engaged in trade talks involving Westbrook for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield earlier this summer. However, The Athletic's Bob Kravitz reported late last month that those negotiations were dead because the Lakers refused to include two first-round picks alongside Westbrook.

Westbrook had a disappointing 2021-22 season with the Lakers, his first in L.A. after a one-year stint with the Washington Wizards. He averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 78 games while shooting 44.4 percent from the floor and 29.8 percent from deep.

It was arguably the 33-year-old's worst season in the NBA, and his trade value plummeted because of it.

If the Lakers are serious about wanting to move Westbrook, they almost certainly will have to include their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in any package. Unless they're willing to do that, the veteran point guard will likely remain in the Purple and Gold in 2022-23.

The Lakers do have a plan in place if they can't move Westbrook. Haynes reported earlier this week that the team is "hopeful for a corner-three shooting percentage bump from Russell Westbrook next season."

New head coach Darvin Ham said just a few weeks ago that he would like Westbrook to take more corner threes than he's ever taken in his career. That came after he told Andscape's Marc Spears that he had a plan for the veteran this season.

"I love Russell Westbrook, man. Just his mentality, his approach. Just to see him, a guy of that magnitude and everything he's done in the league to get hated on," Ham said. "But being me, I got a wholehearted plan, a clear plan on how I'm going to use him."

With the summer winding down, we'll see how desperate the Lakers get to move Westbrook and field a legitimate title contender.


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