Wild Proposed 4-Team Trade Sends Lakers a Former No. 1 Pick & 2 Ex-All-Stars

Lakers exec Rob Pelinka

Getty Lakers exec Rob Pelinka

The Los Angeles Lakers need to find a solution for Russell Westbrook’s future this offseason, and The Ringer’s Bill Simmons has a wild four-team trade proposal that would send a controversial three-time All-Star to Hollywood. Simmons suggested a crazy blockbuster trade involving the Lakers, Knicks, Nets and Jazz where L.A. lands Ben Simmons, Kemba Walker and Mike Conley.

The starting point for Simmons’ crazy idea is the Jazz’s troublesome salary cap situation heading into next season. Mike Conley is slated to have a $22.6 million salary as part of his three-year, $68 million deal that still has two seasons remaining.

“This is a team [Jazz] that will not be one of the best, I think, seven teams in the West next year,” the analyst noted during an April 29 edition of “The Bill Simmons Podcast.” “So, we’re in legitimate ‘blow it up’ mode. I was looking, what if it’s [trading] everybody? Because Conley is going to be the really tough one. Conley’s [salary is] $21 million next year and there is no world where [he would make that] if he’s in the free-agent market this summer, he’s I would say somewhere like a five to six [million per year]. He’s in that [range] like what Patty Mills got last summer.

“But maybe they’re the team that takes Westbrook. I am trying to think of a four-team trade where [Donovan] Mitchell goes to the Knicks with [Juancho] Hernangómez. Brooklyn gets [Rudy] Gobert, they get Derrick Rose and Royce O’Neal. The Lakers get Ben Simmons, Mike Conley and Kemba Walker. And the Jazz get Russell Westbrook, Joe Harris, Talen Horton-Tucker, RJ Barrett. And it’s just, ‘we blew it up. We got nothing left. We’re going for 20 wins this year, and we’re building around R.J. Barrett and we’ll take your Westbrook poison pill [contract] for a year, everybody else is gone. Give us a ton of picks.’

“The Knicks send them picks, the Lakers send them picks, Brooklyn [sends picks]. They just get everybody’s picks and they just start over. I would rather do that than go 42-40 next year with with a luxury tax [bill], right?”

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Would the Lakers Be Willing to Take on Simmons & Conley’s Deals?

THE HERD | Colin "backlash" Lakers blaming Lebron & Klutch for Westbrook trade#Undisputed #SkipBayless #ShannonSharpe THE HERD | Colin "backlash" Lakers blaming Lebron & Klutch for Westbrook trade2022-04-28T17:06:10Z

This whopper of a trade includes seven current or former All-Stars along with one potential future All-Star in RJ Barrett. If you are the Lakers, there is some level of intrigue to landing three high-level players, but the deal would give L.A. a lot to ponder financially.

At least with Westbrook, there is an end in sight to his contract which ends after next season, at the latest. Conley is due more than $47 million over the next two seasons, and Simmons has a $35.4 million salary in 2022-23. The Nets star is also due an additional $77 million over the next two seasons as part of the remainder of his five-year, $177 million contract that goes through the 2024-25 season.

Walker is far from his four-time All-Star days that we saw in Charlotte and Boston. The veteran guard averaged 11.6 points, 3.5 assists, and three rebounds while shooting 36.7% from the three-point line during his 37 appearances with the Knicks.

Simmons Did Not Play a Game This Season

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Simmons did not play a game this season for either the Sixers or Nets. The frustrated guard cited mental health struggles as the reason for not playing in Philadelphia as he pushed for a trade. Simmons’ start to his Brooklyn career was delayed as he dealt with a nagging back injury. The Lakers would be taking on two more aging stars to go with the uncertainty surrounding Simmons.

It is a make-or-break offseason for the Lakers as LeBron James is eligible to sign an extension. If no new deal is signed, James is slated to become a free agent in 2023.

This wild trade proposal has little legitimate chance of happening, but the Lakers will need to get creative to have a chance at improving their current aging roster. To do so, the Lakers are likely going to need to be willing to take on even more risk financially in future years to be able to move Westbrook. The Jazz are unlikely to trade their two All-Stars for a deal built around Barrett and Westbrook.

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J.J. Tabor
J.J. Tabor
18 days ago

It has little legitimate chance of happening? How about a 0% chance of happening. Russell Westbrook landing in Utah? No way. Jazz fans wouldn’t have him and Westbrook definitely wouldn’t want to call Utah home. The history between he and the fan base is already way too soured to have any chance whatsoever. Not to mention the Jazz are giving up Gobert, Mitchell, Royce O’Neal, Juancho Hernangómez and Mike Conley. They would only receive RJ Barrett, Talen Horton-Tucker, Joe Harris and Russell Westbrook. Jazz would part with two franchise cornerstones, another all-star in Conley, solid 3 & D in O’Neal to get an aging Westbrook and Barrett. No way Utah would be involved in this travesty. Don’t care how many draft picks are involved.

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