The Los Angeles Lakers could be getting Anthony Davis back in the lineup soon, which should provide a major boost. It’s not too late to salvage the season. However, the fit with Russell Westbrook will always be questionable. Even when all three Lakers superstars were on the court, they didn’t look special.
The trade deadline gets closer with each passing day and the team has been trying to move on from Westbrook. His contract is close to unmovable so the Lakers haven’t had any luck. If they hope to trade the former MVP, they’re going to have to take a loss. Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report had an interesting proposal that would get the Westbrook contract off the books. He believes the Lakers should send the Clippers Russell Westbrook, DeAndre Jordan, Trevor Ariza, a 2023 second-round pick and a 2025 second-round pick. In return, they’d get Marcus Morris, Eric Bledsoe and Serge Ibaka:
If the Lakers want to rid themselves of Westbrook yet still do right by the Los Angeles-area native, trading him to the Clippers may be the only option.
His lack of outside shooting and high turnover rate don’t make him a good fit next to LeBron James, something everyone in the basketball world outside the Lakers front office could have predicted. He’s still owed the remainder of his $44.2 million salary from this year and $47.1 million next year (assuming he picks up his player option), so moving Westbrook won’t be easy.
Still, the Clippers could be a trade partner. Westbrook wouldn’t have to relocate and would still get to play for a team with championship aspirations, even if injuries to Kawhi Leonard (torn ACL), and now Paul George (torn UCL), have doomed the team’s offense.
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Why This Would Be a Good Trade for the Lakers
It may seem like a loaded scenario but this trade would be good for the Lakers. They’d move on from Westbrook and Jordan, who have not been good fits this season. In return, they get Morris, Ibaka and Bledsoe. None of those players are the same as they were a few years ago and it’s fair to question if they’d help the Lakers. The move would help with future flexibility as Ibaka is on an expiring deal.
Bledsoe is also a better defender at point guard than Westbrook so that would help. The Lakers aren’t getting a superstar in return for Westbrook so this might be the best they can do. Morris would bring some toughness to the team while Bledsoe and Ibaka represent defensive upgrades over Westbrook and Jordan.
Clippers Likely Won’t Help Lakers
The Clippers wouldn’t come out too bad in this trade. They move off of some bad contracts and get a superstar to run the ship with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard hurt. Westbrook is a lot more effective when he’s the only superstar on a team. He probably wouldn’t mind the deal as he gets a bigger role and stays in Los Angeles.
That said, Westbrook would be an issue for the Clippers next season. It’s hard to imagine he’ll decline his player option in the offseason which means a team will be stuck with him. The Clippers have no reason to help the Lakers as the two teams have developed a rivalry over the last few years. While this is a trade that could make sense for both sides, it’s hard to see it happening.