Ever since the 2021-22 season ended, there have been plenty of rumors that the Los Angeles Lakers have looked to trade Russell Westbrook. Yet, as of September 15, Westbrook remains a Laker. Whether they trade Westbrook or not, the fact remains that the Westbrook trade proved to be a failure since the Lakers missed the playoffs. Not to mention, the Lakers are on the clock since LeBron James will be 38 in December.
While the Utah Jazz and Indiana Pacers have been referenced as potential trade partners with the Lakers for Westbrook, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, others could emerge too. An Eastern Conference executive spoke to Heavy’s Sean Deveney regarding one possible team who could come up in a Westbrook trade: the Detroit Pistons.
The executive explained to Deveney why the Pistons would trade for Westbrook.
“I’d be willing to get involved if I were the Pistons,” the executive said. “I would want that 2027 pick unprotected, and take back Russell Westbrook and send you all my veterans, all my junk. Right now, Detroit is taking the approach of just waiting, playing with the guys they got from the Knicks, and trading during the season. That team needs to tank some more, they need (Victor) Wembanyama, or at least they need to be in the mix.”
The executive went on to propose who could be involved in a trade for Westbrook, which included two former Boston Celtics players.
“Send back Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel and (Kelly) Olynyk and Kemba (Walker). The Lakers would be doing a 1-for-4 deal there, so they’d have to move guys around… You have some tradeable contracts, and you have some veterans you can use for depth. I’d consider it on both sides.”
The Knicks acquired Burks, Noel, and Walker from the New York Knicks earlier this offseason.
Kemba Has ‘Uncertain’ NBA Future
On September 7, James Edwards III of The Athletic reported that, despite the Pistons and Walker having agreed to a percentage of the money he’s owed in a buyout, the buyout has not been finalized because of Walker.
“Per sources, the Pistons and Walker had agreed on a number, which was a few million less than what he’s owed. However, and this is just an *educated hunch,* Walker has yet to officially agree to the terms of the buyout because, well, a player usually takes a buyout when he’s sure that he can sign with another team and make up some of the money he gave back.”
Edwards then commented on why he believes Walker remains a Piston.
“So, if you read the tea leaves, it sounds like Walker is unsure that another team out there is interested in his services at this exact point in time.”
2022 marked the second consecutive offseason in which Walker was traded along with a first-round pick in a salary dump.
Olynyk Listed as Possible Danilo Gallinari Replacement
After Danilo Gallinari’s knee injury during the EuroBasket tournament was confirmed to be a torn ACL, Nick Goss of NBC Sports Boston listed Olynyk among the possible replacements for Gallinari on September 2.
“Olynyk would provide the Celtics with size, rebounding, and outside shooting. He shot 36.3 percent from 3-point range last season with the Pistons. He’s also a quality free throw shooter and has averaged 10.1 points per game over his career.”
Goss then brought up the difficulty that would come with acquiring Olynyk.
“Olynyk would have to be acquired via trade, and he wouldn’t be a rental. However, the final year of his contract in 2023-24 is only partially guaranteed, per Spotrac. His $12 million salary also might be tough for the Celtics to acquire because they don’t have many mid-tier salaries in the $8-14 million range to match.”
With the Pistons in rebuilding mode, there isn’t much use for Olynyk, but he’s remained a Piston through and through, so either no one has offered anything satisfactory for Detroit, or the Pistons plan to keep him. That is, unless they decide to get involved in a Westbrook trade.