Signs are starting to point towards Russell Westbrook possibly staying with the Los Angeles Lakers. His first season with the team was an unmitigated disaster and it looked like he had no future. With trade options limited for his $47 million contract next season, the Lakers’ only option might be to keep him if they don’t want to give up assets just to take on other bad contracts.
While many don’t believe the team will find a good trade for Westbrook, nothing can be ruled out. Not a lot of people would’ve thought that the guard would get dealt last offseason but it happened. Westbrook can still be an effective player in the right fit. The Brooklyn Nets are another team coming off a wildly disappointing season.
The midseason James Harden for Ben Simmons swap didn’t lead to anything special as the latter didn’t play a single game. Nick Wright on “First Things First” suggested a trade that would get the Lakers off Westbrook and the Nets off Simmons.
“What about a different trade for a Net, that hasn’t actually played for the Nets,” Wright said. “Rumor is he always wanted to be in Los Angeles. We don’t know if he will ever play for the Nets. And maybe it’s a three-way trade and maybe the Nets do re-up Kyrie, and they say you know what, we are not comfortable having long-term deals in place for Kyrie and Ben Simmons. Two gigantic wildcards. Is there some type of Ben Simmons for Russell Westbrook and some picks out there?”
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Wright Suggests Adding a 3rd Team
A Westbrook for Simmons swap outright isn’t going to happen considering the latter is younger and has more upside. Wright knows that and suggests that the Indiana Pacers get involved in a three-team deal.
“Kyrie is there, a third team is involved,” Wright said. “For example, what you’re saying about the Pacers. It’s [Malcolm] Brogdon and [Buddy] Hield to Brooklyn, Ben Simmons to Los Angeles, and Russell Westbrook and picks from both teams to Indiana. Brooklyn throws in some of them picks they got from Philly, Los Angeles throws in their own picks.”
Westbrook for Brogdon and Hield has been a popular rumor surrounding the Lakers but they might like the idea of bringing in somebody with more star power like Simmons.
Simmons Would Likely Be Happy in L.A.
This would likely be a dream scenario for Simmons. He’s a client of Klutch Sports along with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. He would feel really comfortable playing with guys he already has a relationship with. Simmons is also a fan of Los Angeles. Just a year ago he bought a $17.5 million mansion in Hidden Hills, California.
He’s spent a lot of time in the city due to his recent relationship with Kendall Jenner. Getting traded to the Lakers would be an ideal scenario for Simmons. From the team’s point of view, they’d certainly rather have him than Westbrook. However, he comes with some similar problems. He can’t shoot and is most effective with the ball in his hands, but he’s a much better defensive player, which would already make him an upgrade.