Lakers Predicted to Trade Russell Westbrook for $22 Million All-Star & $19 Million Wing

Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook

Getty Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook

The Los Angeles Lakers have been predicted to trade Russell Westbrook for a $22 million All-Star and $19 million small forward.

In a September 15th piece called “Lakers’ Best and Worst-Case Scenarios In ‘Ongoing’ Trade Talks with Utah Jazz,” Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey wrote that the likeliest scenario to happen is for the Lakers and Jazz to strike a deal involving Westbrook, Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic and draft picks.

“There is plenty of motivation for both Utah and L.A. to find a suitable trade,” Bailey wrote. “The Jazz should want to lose. A lot. But that isn’t all that the first season of a rebuild should accomplish. On-court development and reps for the new young (or young-ish) core of players that includes Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, Walker Kessler and more should be a priority. Having Conley, Bogdanovic, (Jordan) Clarkson and (Rudy) Gay on the roster doesn’t necessarily make that impossible, but it at least makes it trickier. Moving some combination of them for picks and buying out the last year of Westbrook’s deal clears the path for youth and lineup experimentation.”

According to a September 2nd report from Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY Sports, the Lakers “have some interest” in Conley and Bogdanovic. Conley, a one-time All-Star, will make $22.7 million next season. Meanwhile, Bogdanovic will earn $19.3 million.

Conley & Bogdanovic Are Good Shooters

Conley and Bogdanovic would be terrific fits on the Lakers next to stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis since both players are good shooters. Conley shot 40.8% from beyond the arc and made 169 3-pointers last season, while Bogdanovic hit 181 3s while shooting 38.7%.

The Lakers need more shooters around James and Davis if they want to compete in the Western Conference next season. Los Angeles ranked 22nd in the NBA in 3-point shooting in 2021-22, hitting only 34.7% of its team attempts.

Westbrook drilled just 79 shots from deep last season. He wasn’t a good fit next to James and Davis due to his inability to hit perimeter shots. The future Hall of Famer shot 29.8% from beyond the arc, and among 46 players to take at least 1,000 shots, Westbrook ranked 42nd in true shooting percentage.

According to a September 7th report from Ric Bucher of Fox Sports, Utah may be willing to take on Westbrook’s contract if Los Angeles throws in a first-round pick or two. Westbrook picked up his $47.1 million player option for next season. The Jazz would likely waive the nine-time All-Star if they acquired him.

This Trade Would Help the Lakers

The Lakers would improve dramatically if they traded Westbrook for Conley and Bogdanovic. Bailey believes Los Angeles could throw out a lineup of Conley, Patrick Beverley, Bogdanovic, James and Davis.

“Being able to deploy a Conley-Beverley-Bogdanovic-James-Davis lineup may not put the Lakers in the same tier as teams like the Golden State Warriors, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks or Phoenix Suns right away, but it would get them far closer than they are right now,” Bailey wrote. “In that situation, LeBron and AD would once again be the unquestioned focal points, as they were in 2020. And they’d be surrounded by plenty of shooting. If LeBron hasn’t already had his last real shot at a championship, there aren’t many left. L.A. has to go for it.”

Conley, who turns 35 in October, is a career 38.2% shooter from beyond the arc. He’s not the triple-double threat Westbrook is, but the lefty is a better shooter than Russ and doesn’t turn the ball over at a high rate.

Bogdanovic, who will be 34 in April, is a career 39.2% shooter from 3-point land. He’s 26th among active players in 3-point field goal percentage.

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