The long-rumored John Wall for Russell Westbrook trade does not appear to be happening with the Los Angeles Lakers not having a great deal of interest in adding the five-time All-Star. According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, the rumored Lakers-Rockets trade is “unlikely…[to] ever cross the finish line.” Wall did not play during the 2021-22 season as the Rockets unsuccessfully explored trade options for the guard.
“That impasse prompted the Rockets to inquire about a trade deadline swap for Russell Westbrook, with the belief that Westbrook would be more amenable to negotiating a buyout,” Fischer explained on April 21, 2022. “But those February conversations between Houston and the Los Angeles Lakers never gained serious traction, sources told B/R. The Rockets sought a future Lakers first-rounder, which was a non-starter for L.A.’s front office. It still seems unlikely that such a deal framework will ever cross the finish line.
“From conversations with league figures familiar with those talks, neither front office appears to truly value the opposing player. And if the 31-year-old Wall picks up his $47.4 million player option for 2022-23 as expected, it could be even more challenging for Houston to shed him than for the Lakers to move Westbrook’s expiring contract.”
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Westbrook Has ‘Extremely Negative’ Trade Value, Says NBA Exec
The Rockets and Hornets have been two teams mentioned as possible landing spots for Westbrook, but NBA insiders have pushed back on both ideas in recent days. League scribe Marc Stein reported that the Lakers are unlikely to have an interest in trading for Gordon Hayward given his injury history. Stein added that Terry Rozier would likely need to be the centerpiece of a potential Hornets-Lakers deal.
Technically, Westbrook could become a free agent this offseason but the guard is unlikely to pass up his $47 million salary for next season. This leaves the Lakers with the challenge of finding a trade partner for Westbrook. An NBA executive told Hoops Hype’s Michael Scotto that Westbrook’s trade value is “extremely negative.”
“Right now, his trade value is extremely negative,” the exec noted. “All it takes, however, is one team to be desperate to add talent and have bad contracts to make it happen. The reality is that 95 percent of teams view that as a terrible contract right now. They’re not doing that unless they’re dumping a bunch of stuff.”
Westbrook on Lakers: ‘I Never Was Given a Fair Chance’
As the executive referenced, the Lakers may need “one team to be desperate” enough to think Westbrook could benefit from a change of scenery. During his final press conference of the season, Westbrook revealed that he believes he never received a “fair chance” in Los Angeles.
“I would say this, so when I first got here and just being a person that, unfortunately, that people create narratives of me and who I am and what I do and what I believe in that are just not true,” Westbrook told reporters on April 11. “I’m always having to like prove myself again year after year after year which is, to me, just unfair. There’s really no reason I have to do that. So, when I first got here, I just felt that I never was given a fair chance just to be who I needed to be to be able to help this team.”