Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times reported on August 12 that the Lakers feel they’ll have more options to deal polarizing point guard Russell Westbrook as more pieces fall into place this offseason.
“If and when Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell get traded, the space to make a Westbrook trade probably opens a little wider with the costs getting cleared,” Woike wrote. “Lakers sources insist they have options beyond the ones that have been reported (Irving, Buddy Hield, Myles Turner and others). Time should better reveal those once the bigger moves get made.”
The Lakers have been unable to find a trade partner for Westbrook that wouldn’t involve attaching key assets. Westbrook is due more than $47 million next year and his debut year in purple and gold proved the former MVP is a clunky fit in Los Angeles next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Westbrook averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game as the Lakers stumbled and missed the postseason.
While there appears to be quite a bit of movement going on behind the scenes, new head coach Darvin Ham has been very complimentary of Westbrook and says he has a plan.
“I love Russell Westbrook, man,” Ham told ESPN Senior Writer Marc Spears. “Just his mentality, his approach. Just to see him, a guy of that magnitude and everything he’s done in the league to get hated on. But being me, I got a wholehearted plan, a clear plan on how I’m going to use him.”
Lakers Still Eyeing Trade for Kyrie Irving
One of the more notable trades the Lakers have been working towards is for Nets guard Kyrie Irving. However, Brooklyn is in a bit of a holding pattern as they try to sort out their own offseason drama, which includes both Irving and his co-star Kevin Durant.
The Lakers had previously been timid about including a pair of first-round picks to land Irving, although that mindset appears to be shifting, per Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News.
“The Los Angeles Lakers are now reportedly willing to include both 2027 and 2029 first-round draft picks in a deal for Kyrie Irving,” Winfield reported on August 10. “Earlier in the offseason, the Nets were unwilling to take back Russell Westbrook in any Irving deal. It is unclear if their stance remains unchanged or could change depending on what is received in a potential Durant deal.”
If the Lakers were to include Westbrook, it would reunite him with an old teammate in Durant — if he stays put. Durant reiterated his trade request to the Nets’ brass during a meeting earlier this month.
Lakers Also Linked to Trade With Pacers
Another move the Lakers have been linked to involved sending Westbrook and draft picks to the Pacers to bring back big man Myles Turner and Buddy Hield. That package was shot down by Indiana, per Bob Kravitz of The Athletic.
The Lakers have been linked to Hield previously, prior to Westbrook even landing in Los Angeles. Hield averaged 18.2 points a game while shooting 36 percent from 3-point range last season.
Turner would likely slide into the starting role at center, giving the Lakers an explosive shot-blocker. He notched 12.9 points and 7.1 rebounds last season but dealt with a foot injury that forced him to miss 39 games.