Lakers Could Land 2 Former Top-5 Picks in Trade, Says Insider

Rob Pelinka, Lakers

Getty Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka faces some difficult decisions as the NBA trade deadline approaches.

Trade season is officially upon us as the Los Angeles Lakers rumors have heated up, especially with the arrival of December 15 making the majority of players who signed new deals this offseason tradable . Bleacher Report’s NBA insider Jake Fischer floated a Cavaliers-Lakers blockbuster proposal that would send Russell Westbrook to Cleveland in exchange for Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. Fischer added that the Cavs would likely be reluctant to make the deal as the Lakers continue to explore potential trade options for Westbrook.

“Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio’s salaries would match Westbrook’s pricey deal, reuniting James with a former championship counterpart,” Fischer noted on December 14. “But that structure would have little interest from the Cavaliers’ side and has not yet been discussed by the two teams, sources said. Outside of Love’s large number, there are simply few players aside from John Wall, for whom Westbrook was traded to Washington last summer, who are available for trade and come close to Westbrook’s earnings.”

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The Lakers Have Held ‘Internal Discussions on Trade Scenarios’ for Westbrook: Report

Rubio has been a revelation for the Cavaliers this season despite their roster already being loaded with young guards prior to his arrival. The veteran is averaging 12.8 points, 6.3 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals while shooting 34.7% from long range in 29 appearances.

Love has fallen out of favor with the Cavs as they look to develop some of their younger players. The Cleveland big man is averaging a career-low 20 minutes per outing and has yet to start a game this season. Heading into the season, Love shot down the idea of a potential buyout but the rumors are likely to once again heat up if he is not traded.

As for the Lakers, Fischer reported that the L.A. front office has not been as pleased as they originally anticipated with Westbrook’s fit with the roster. The Lakers have had “internal discussions” about potential trade packages for the star guard but are likely finding a difficult market given his $44 million salary.

“The trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook simply hasn’t blended as well as Lakers figures hoped, and Los Angeles has held internal discussions on trade scenarios for Russell Westbrook, league sources told B/R. But moving Westbrook and the two years, $91 million remaining on his contract does seem unlikely,” Fischer explained.

The Lakers Could be a Landing Spot for Love If He Receives a Buyout, Says Insider

Even if this trade does not come to fruition, the Lakers are a team to watch as a possible landing spot for Love if he does agree to a buyout with the Cavaliers. Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus noted on the December 10 edition of the FnA podcast that a Love reunion with LeBron James makes some sense.

“I do think there are small moves to make, and then when you get to the buyout market, then you see who didn’t happen,” Pincus explained. “I think there was some hope that Kevin Love would get bought out before the season and, obviously, that hasn’t happened. He would change the dynamic in that you would play him and A.D. inside four or five. And while, I guess A.D. would probably be the five in that situation.

“What that does is add floor spacing which you don’t have if you’re going bigger and you play LeBron at the three. And now, you’re bigger at the three instead of LeBron at the four. And you play Russell Westbrook and then whoever that fifth starter is. It changes the dynamic a bit.”