Eastern Team Has ‘Real’ Interest in Blockbuster Trade With Lakers: Report

russell westbrook

Getty Russell Westbrook with LeBron James.

The rumor mill is starting to heat up for the Los Angeles Lakers as Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal and Zach LaVine have already been linked to the team. It’s going to prove incredibly difficult to get any of those players. If they hope to, they must get off Russell Westbrook’s contract.

The former MVP will be owed $47 million this season once he picks up his player option. That’s a lot of money for an aging star coming off his worst season as a pro. There aren’t many teams out there willing to throw a lifeline to the Lakers. However, there could be a team that could find a mutually beneficial deal for them and Los Angeles.

The Charlotte Hornets were previously rumored as a team that could be interested in Westbrook. They have some bad contracts they’d like to get off of. According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Hornets are seriously interested in the guard:

The Russell Westbrook interest that Marc Stein reported months back is real. Though Westbrook makes little sense as a player next to Ball, he does have an expiring contract and the Hornets could be dropping the bag for restricted free agent Miles Bridges, plus LaMelo Ball’s extension is around the corner. It’s a good time to move some other long-term salary (e.g., Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier) for an expiring deal in Russ. They could also explore moving up from 13 and 15 into the top 10. No matter what, the Hornets should prioritize finding a big scoring wing who can complement LaMelo. Bridges is good. With him or not, the Hornets need someone.

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

Join Heavy on Lakers!

Would Hornets Trade Make Lakers Better?

Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier are both better fits on the Lakers than Westbrook. Hayward hits 37.1% of 3-point shots while Rozier hits 37.6%. Those aren’t elite numbers but they are much better than the 30.5% Westbrook averages. The problem with Hayward and Rozier is that they are under contract for longer than Westbrook is.

The former’s contract lasts for two more seasons while the latter’s is guaranteed through 2025 and will go through 2026 with a deep playoff berth. Westbrook is such a bad fit with the Lakers’ current roster that it could simply be addition by subtraction. Also, if Los Angeles is set on trying to get LaVine or Irving in a sign-and-trade, the Hornets could be a good third team to add to the mix with Westbrook landing with them.

Lakers Need to Take Advantage of Having LeBron

The goal for the Lakers should be maximizing what LeBron James has left in his career. He averaged 30.3 points a game last season at the age of 37. Had he played in two more games, he would’ve led the NBA in scoring and set a career-high. He’s clearly still got a lot left in the tank.

The Lakers would be foolish not to do what they can to win games while they have LeBron. It’s clear that Westbrook doesn’t work with the superstar. If taking on bad contracts and sacrificing draft picks is what it takes to get better, Los Angeles has to do it. If not, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about trading LeBron.

READ NEXT: Lakers Hire Former Knicks Guard to Coaching Staff With Ties to LeBron James

Read More