It would have cut Lakers fans deep when they found out they had missed out on getting Kyrie Irving, who is going to Dallas instead.
It sure as hell would have upset LeBron James, who publicly advocated for an Irving trade.
So, it is no secret LAL should act before Thursday’s deadline and one of the best things they can do is trade Westbrook for some solid three-and-d players.
Let’s have a look at a few viable options:
Westbrook to Toronto for Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr.
If the Lakers can include a few protections onto one of the picks, a return package for VanVleet and Trent Jr. could make a huge difference to their current 25-29 record.
FVV is averaging 19.8 points, 6.5 assists and 1.6 steals and his two-way ability is exactly what LA’s backcourt needs. He also is a big-game player and can handle the pressure during crunch time.
The 28-year-old also has a reasonable $22.8 million player option for next season.
24-year-old Trent Jr, is a two-way wing that Lakers could definitely make use of and is currently averaging 18.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.
He also has a handy $18.7 million player option for 2023-24.
If one or both of these players do opt for free agency and if LA play their cards right, they could theoretically exceed the cap to retain them.
Westbrook to Utah for Mike Conley and Malik Beasley
A deal that sends Westbrook to Utah would almost definitely include veteran point guard Mike Conley Jr., wing shooter Malik Beasley and forward Jarred Vanderbilt as the team continue to tell inquiring front offices they value the three players as worth one first-round pick each.
These useful role players, along with a 2029 pick, could benefit the Lakers greatly.
Beasley has a $16.5 million team option for 2023-24 and is shooting 39.7 percent from the field while averaging 13.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists.
While Conley Jr. is shooting 40.7 percent from the field and averaging 7.6 assists but LA would have to pay him $24.4 million next season, so perhaps Utah could throw in a few second round picks to sweeten the deal.
Westbrook to Charlotte for Terry Rozier / Gordon Hayward / Mason Plumlee
Hornets guard Terry Rozier, remains another possible trade partner for Westbrook and in return Charlotte would be seeking LA’s next two trade-eligible first-round picks, in 2027 and 2029 – something they have been reluctant to give up.
Rozier is putting up a career-high 21.7 points per game but is shooting 33.3 percent from three.
Getting his huge contract off the books would be great for Charlotte. The 28-year-old is owed $21 million this season, $22 million in 2023-24, $24 million in 2024-25, and $26 million in 2025-26.
Another player Charlotte is prepared to talk deals for is Hayward. Westbrook does has a $47 million dollar salary, the Hornets could get out of the two years and $60 million Hayward is due to be paid and acquire Westbrook’s $47 million until his contract expires in the summer.
To make the deal more appealing for the Hornets, the Lakers will include a 2027 first-rounder for Hayward and Mason Plumlee would also be included in the deal.
LA would end up with two veteran players that could very much improve their chances of reaching the play-ins.