Lakers Urged to Address PG Need With Trade for 4-Time All-Star

Lakers GM Rob Pelinka

Getty Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka.

The Los Angeles Lakers thought they had acquired their point guard of the future in Russell Westbrook last summer.

However, Westbrook has been a poor fit for the Lakers, leading the NBA this season in turnovers and shooting a woeful 29.4% from beyond the arc and 67.1% from the free-throw line.

Should the Lakers upgrade at point guard? Sports Illustrated’s Ben Stinar thinks so, writing that the Lakers should trade for New York Knicks guard Kemba Walker.

“The Lakers have had a miserable season considering the star power on their roster. They might not even make the playoffs, and clearly changes need to be made. Walker may not be the answer, but he would be very good addition at a relatively low price salary wise, and they could probably figure out a trade with the Knicks that makes sense for both sides,” Stinar wrote in a column published March 26.

“The Lakers do not have much to give in terms of assets, but the Knicks also won’t be looking for much in return either. The Lakers are stuck right now in terms of the salary cap, and they have to look at every possibility if they want to make the most out of LeBron James’ final seasons in the NBA.”

Walker Shot 36.7% from Beyond the Arc

Walker, who will be 32 when the 2022-23 season starts, appeared in 37 games for the Knicks before being shut down for the season on February 23. He is no longer the superstar he was with the Charlotte Hornets, averaging 11.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists this season for his hometown Knicks.

However, Walker has always been a good 3-point shooter, a quality the Lakers need around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The UConn product shot 36.7% from beyond the arc with the Knicks this season. His 73 3-pointers in 37 games is only one fewer than the 74 3-pointers Westbrook has made in 73 games with the Lakers.

Walker and Westbrook will each be entering the final year of their contract next season, so the Knicks and Lakers essentially would be swapping expiring contracts. Westbrook, 33, has a $47 million player option and Walker is scheduled to make $9.2 million next season, so a one-for-one trade would seem unlikely.

However, according to ESPN’s trade machine, a trade sending Westbrook and Talen Horton-Tucker to the Knicks in exchange for Walker, Derrick Rose, Evan Fournier and Alec Burks would work. However, that would be a pretty lopsided trade for the Lakers.

Knicks May Not Want Westbrook

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report told Marc Stein on the March 25 episode of Stein’s podcast that the Knicks would have no interest in acquiring Westbrook, a future Hall of Famer, this summer.

If the Lakers don’t trade James and/or Davis this summer, they would need to acquire more shooters around their two stars. Walker is a career 36.0% shooter from beyond the arc, making him a better fit with LeBron and Davis than Westbrook has been.

It will be fascinating to see what moves the Lakers make this summer after having such a terrible 2021-22 campaign. They are in 11th place in the Western Conference standings.

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