Lakers Rumors: Latest Trade Buzz Around Ben Simmons, Russell Westbrook, More

Theo SalaunCorrespondent IDecember 15, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James, left, in action against Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 108-91. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

Things are looking a little brighter for the Los Angeles Lakers these days. The team is 3-1 over its last four games, bumping them up to sixth in the Western Conference standings.

But a 15-13 record isn't particularly inspiring, and the Los Angeles front office doesn't appear satisfied. With the trade window on the precipice of opening up, and then closing, Tinsel Town seems to be looking for some new cast members. 

Given recent news, the disgruntled Ben Simmons and misplaced Jerami Grant are being linked to L.A. As for who they could part with, the names being thrown around include Russell Westbrook, Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn.


Lakers Interested in Acquiring Simmons or Grant

With the trade deadline on February 10 and expanded eligibility for trade candidates on December 15, this is precisely when players could start moving. According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, the Lakers are among the teams with their eyes on high-profile candidates.

And the two names Shams linked to L.A.? Simmons and Grant. While uncertain whether the Lakers truly have the capital to make a deal work, it appears the team is poking around to see if either versatile player is available.

For Simmons, the Philadelphia 76ers are obviously not getting much use out of his defensive or playmaking prowess. For Grant, the 4-22 Detroit Pistons aren't an ideal fit for the talented, 27-year-old forward's prime.

Both would be clear difference-makers in Los Angeles, but making a deal work would require some serious negotiations considering the Lakers' available options.


Lakers Willing to Part With Westbrook and, Possibly, THT

If the Lakers want to acquire Simmons or Grant, they'll need to match some hefty contracts and player values. The former is best accomplished by Westbrook, while the latter is best served by the 21-year-old Horton-Tucker.

As reported by Jake Fischer, the Lakers have "held internal discussions on [Westbrook] trade scenarios." And, according to Jordan Schultz, Horton-Tucker is also being discussed—albeit likely at a higher price.

Jordan Schultz @Schultz_Report

Talen Horton-Tucker has become a trade target of as many as seven teams, league sources say. It will take “a lot” to get him though, I’m told. #Lakers, who really value THT, are hesitant. He just turned 21 and is averaging a career-best 11 PPG, 5 RPG and 3 assists.

Fischer elaborated that the 76ers don't seem keen on L.A.'s 33-year-old point guard. And, further, league executives believe that only THT and Nunn have "legitimate trade value" among the team's above-minimum salaries.

At the moment, all we know for certain is that conversations are happening. But it appears unlikely that anything materializes until other teams get further involved.