Blockbuster 5-Team Proposed Trade Sends Lakers Starting Bona Fide Scorer

Rob Pelinka, Lakers

Getty Rob Pelinka, Lakers

Just when you thought the Los Angeles Lakers rumors could not get any crazier, a trade idea has emerged where L.A.’s favorite squad would make a move as part of a five-team deal. On the eve of the NBA trade deadline, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor floated a blockbuster idea that he discussed with one of his league sources.

“So, I was texting with my one of my friends in the league earlier today because we were talking about there were all these rumblings, [ESPN’s Brian] Windhorst alluded to it this morning,” O’Connor noted during a February 9 episode of The Void podcast. “There was a lot of talk yesterday about four-way, five-way iterations between the Sixers and the Nets, them trying to loop in OKC, as we talked about earlier, to move off Tobias Harris and he brought up, this is not anything sourced, it was just an idea. But I thought it was a smart idea, so I want to pass it along.

“He said, ‘Well, why not like a four-way or a five-way [trade] involving all of these teams?’ Nets, Sixers, Lakers, Thunder, maybe even the Rockets, and the Thunder can land Russell Westbrook in this case. And the Lakers can get Tobias Harris and maybe like a Derrick Favors in this deal. Eric Gordon and Ben Simmons land with the Nets. Harden lands with the Sixers. And I’m like, woah, that actually makes some sense on paper. It kind of does, doesn’t it?”

ALL the latest Los Angeles Lakers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lakers newsletter here!

Join Heavy on Lakers!

The 76ers Are Trying to Move Harris’ $180 Million Contract

O’Connor was discussing the wild trade proposal with Bleacher Report’s NBA insider Jake Fischer who admitted the deal would be hard to pull off by the deadline. Fischer also added that there was no way a potential trade involving five teams would be kept a secret without rumors leaking out.

To recap, the Lakers would receive Harris and Favors in exchange for Westbrook and potentially some filler as part of the mega-deal. The Thunder could be willing to take on Westbrook’s $47 million salary for next season in exchange for first-round draft picks. The 76ers have been looking for a team willing to accept Harris’ $180 million contract.

Here is the challenge for the Lakers, the front office knows that the Westbrook era can end after the 2022-23 season, at the very least, when the star will become a free agent. Harris’ deal runs through the 2023-24 season, and he has a $35.9 million salary this year. This escalates all the way up to $39.2 million for the 2023-24 season, per Spotrac.

The Lakers would agree to take on more long-term salary, but Harris is a logical fit for the Los Angeles roster when compared to Westbrook. Harris has averaged 19 or more points in five of the last six seasons. The Sixers forward is posting 19.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game while shooting 34.6% from the three-point line during the 2021-22 season.

The Lakers Want to ‘Rip the Band-aid Off’ by Trading Westbrook: Report

The chances of the Lakers pulling off a five-way deal are less than slim, and the odds of Westbrook getting traded prior to the deadline are not that much greater. Despite the long odds, the Lakers want to make a deadline deal with Westbrook, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

“I had a team source tell me today specifically what he would like to see done with the roster: trade Russell Westbrook,” McMenamin noted during a February 9 SportsCenter interview. “He told me, ‘We got to rip the band-aid off to be able to move forward this season.'”

It will be interesting to see if the Lakers are able to “rip the band-aid off” prior to the trade deadline, or if it will have to wait until the offseason.