The Los Angeles Lakers nearly acquired a $21 million point guard and $19 million small forward for Russell Westbrook.
According to a September 16th report from Sam Amick and Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the Lakers discussed a four-team trade with the Utah Jazz, New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets before the Jazz traded All-Star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Los Angeles would have acquired Terry Rozier from Charlotte and Bojan Bogdanovic from Utah.
However, the Lakers’ lack of interest in taking on future money and refusal to offer their future draft picks prevented the trade from happening.
“Regarding the Westbrook trades that never transpired, two themes emerged in the failed talks with multiple teams: The Lakers’ lack of interest in taking on future money (a la Utah’s Mike Conley), and their refusal to offer the precious first-round picks that might yield a greater return down the line,” Amick and Buha reported. “The Lakers discussed a four-team trade with Utah, New York and Charlotte ahead of the Donovan-Mitchell-to-Cleveland trade, according to league sources. One preliminary iteration of a four-team deal would have had Bojan Bogdanović and Terry Rozier going back to Los Angeles.”
Rozier will make $21.5 million next season, while Bogdanovic will earn $19.3 million. Westbrook, who has been on the trade block all summer, picked up his $47.1 million player option for 2022-23.
Rozier & Bogdanovic Would Have Been Good Fits on the Lakers
Rozier and Bogdanovic would have been good fits on the Lakers since both players can shoot from the perimeter. Rozier shot 37.4% from beyond the arc last season and hit 222 3-pointers for the Hornets, while Bogdanovic hit 181 3s while shooting 38.7% for the Jazz.
The Lakers, who missed the playoffs last season, need more shooters around LeBron James and Anthony Davis if they want to compete in the Western Conference. Los Angeles ranked 22nd in the NBA in 3-point shooting in 2021-22, hitting only 34.7% of its team attempts.
Westbrook, the NBA’s all-time leader in triple-doubles, drilled just 79 shots from deep last season in 78 starts. He wasn’t a suitable 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. The Lakers still have time to trade Westbrook before training camp starts, but if they don’t make a deal, it appears they are eager to see how new head coach Darvin Ham will work with the UCLA product.
Lakers Comfortable Heading into Training Camp with Westbrook
According to a September 1st report from Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times, the Lakers are “comfortable” heading into training camp with Westbrook on the roster. Despite Westbrook’s struggles from last season, Ham has said nothing but positive things about the two-time scoring champion.
“Everything has been clear and upfront between he and I,” Ham said about Westbrook on September 6th. “Like, he’s been a pleasure. I’ve been a huge fan throughout his time in the league. He’s a salt of the earth. And again, he wants to win. I want to help him get that championship ring. But it starts here. It starts today. It starts with the buy-in. It starts with supporting your teammates and supporting a vision and doing that and working your butt off day in and day out. Everyone’s quick to look at the destination but you really have to appreciate the journey and respect and embrace the journey. He’s been that since Day 1. Anytime I call him or I need him, text messages. The communication has been great both ways. He’s in here. He’s in here putting in the work. I love him and I can’t wait to coach him and I can’t wait to succeed with him.”
If Westbrook isn’t traded, he is expected to attend the upcoming Lakers minicamp hosted by James, per a September 5th report from NBA insider Marc Stein.