Proposed Trade Sees Lakers Trade 2 players for $203M All-Star & $91M Sharpshooter

Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley and Anthony Davis

Getty Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley and Anthony Davis

Under CBA rules, the Los Angeles Lakers can trade two players for a $203 million All-Star and a $91 million sharpshooter.

The Lakers, who lost to the Brooklyn Nets on January 30, can ship Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley to the Nets for Ben Simmons and Joe Harris. Noah Camras of Sports Illustrated wrote about this trade on January 30.

“One of the most highly talked about trades over the last few seasons has been something that brought Ben Simmons to a LeBron James-led team,” Camras wrote. “Simmons shares an agent with James in Rich Paul at Klutch Sports, and LeBron has long talked about playing with a player he’s always liked. If there was ever a time to make it work, it may be this season. A trade revolving around Simmons and Russell Westbrook would make a lot of sense for both sides, as the Nets would be able to get off the remaining two-plus years of Simmons’ contract. He’ll be getting $37.8 million next season, and over $40 million in 2024, before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2025. The Nets would be clearing that room with an expiring contract in Westbrook’s, and could then build next offseason around Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who they’re expected to sign to a long term extension. The Nets would likely want a first-round pick in the deal, too.

“It’s no secret the Nets want to trade Joe Harris. He’s due $18 million this year and next, and is taking up pretty valuable cap space the Nets could use elsewhere. The Lakers would be happy to take Harris off Brooklyn’s hands, as he’s a career 43.6 percent shooter from three. This year, he’s shooting 40.4 percent from deep, which is his lowest since the 2016-17 season — but still, that would be third-best on the Lakers after Thomas Bryant and Max Christie. Something revolved around Patrick Beverley and a little more (Damian Jones) would make the money work, and the Nets may want some second-round pick compensation, too. But Harris would be a nice fit as a three-point specialist in the Lakers’ rotation, and they could trade him in the offseason when he’ll be an expiring contract heading into next year.”

Westbrook and Beverley both become unrestricted free agents this summer. The Nets could be interested in the Lakers guards since their contracts come off the books after this season.

Meanwhile, Simmons is making $35.4 million this season and will have earned more than $203 million in his career when his contract is over following the 2024-25 season, while Harris is making $18.6 million and will have accumulated more than $91 million after the 2023-24 campaign.

The Lakers Are Considered a Landing Spot for Ben Simmons

In a November 17 story called “NBA Rumors & Notes: Execs Size up Potential New Contract for Celtics Veteran,” Heavy Sports senior insider Sean Deveney published quotes he received from an Eastern Conference executive about Simmons. The exec told Deveney that “maybe the Lakers” would trade for Simmons if the Nets look to move the LSU product.

“The Nets got hustled by Klutch (Simmons’ representatives, who also represent the Lakers’ LeBron James) in the deal so, hey, maybe the Lakers will take him,” the executive told Deveney. “See what LeBron can do with him. Maybe that’s the solution.”

The Nets acquired Simmons from the Philadelphia 76ers last season in the blockbuster James Harden trade. The All-NBA defender, who didn’t play at all in 2021-22, signed a five-year, $177.2 million maximum rookie contract extension with the Sixers in July 2019.

Simmons is averaging 7.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 6.4 assists this season while shooting 56.6% from the field and 44.6% from the free-throw line. He’s 0-for-1 from beyond the arc, continuing his career trend of not being a threat from the perimeter.

Joe Harris Could Help the Lakers

Harris is one of the best shooters in NBA history. He’s fifth all-time in 3-point field goal percentage. Since the Lakers need more shooters around superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Harris could help the purple and gold become more dynamic on offense.

A Washington native, Harris is shooting 39.9% on 3-pointers this season. The guard has made 81 shots from deep in 43 games. The Lakers are 30th in the NBA in 3-point field goals and 26th in 3-point field goal percentage, so Harris would be a great addition to the LakeShow.

The NBA trade deadline is February 9. The Lakers (23-28) are in 13th place in the Western Conference standings.

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