Given how subpar their season has been, the Los Angeles Lakers front office is now entertaining the thought of shipping out Russell Westbrook. Never mind they gave up almost half their roster for the former league MVP. According to the rumor mill, Ben Simmons, Kevin Love, and John Wall have been mentioned in swap talks with Westbrook.
The main obstacle concerning a trade involving a superstar is his hefty contract. Westbrook is due $91 million in the next two years. There is a shortlist of players who can match this pricey deal. One of them is Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons, who has been embroiled in a tussle with the organization since the end of last season.
76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has remained firm in his word. He’ll only entertain proposals for Simmons if it involves a superstar caliber player. However, Westbrook is “not a player on the Sixers’ list of hopeful returns and conversations with the Lakers never developed very far,” per Bleacher Report.
Houston Rockets guard John Wall, too, has been mentioned in these discussions. For context, Wall is not interested in playing for a rebuilding team at this point in his career. The Rockets understand this, but they haven’t found a trade partner willing to absorb his hefty contract. Wall is due $44.3 million this season and $47.4 million next season. While Wall’s contract meets Westbrook’s, it is unlikely that the Rockets are willing to embrace Russ for a second time.
The final player in these rumors is none other than Kevin Love, LeBron James’ former teammate. He would only match Westbrook’s value if veteran point guard Ricky Rubio were involved in the trade as well. This is where the deal breaks down as the analysts believe the Cleveland Cavaliers are not interested in letting their two players go. Love is slowly getting back to his feet after years of dealing with injuries.
The organization has outright denied rumors of a buyout, as reported by Sideline Sources. Together with Rubio, they have been instrumental in developing young guns Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, Darius Garland, and Collin Sexton.
From the looks of it, Westbrook will continue donning the Purple and Gold for the time being. If they find a trade partner, it might make their fanbase the happiest people on earth. The fact Wall, Simmons, and Love are the only players rumored in trade scenarios tells you all you need to know about Westbrook’s status in the NBA and the Lakers’ trade flexibility.
That Buddy Hield deal is looking better every day.