Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball during the first half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on April 05, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona.
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Russell Westbrook Trades That Could Benefit Both Teams in the Deal


The Los Angeles Lakers play in a star-studded city where amazing films are created on a regular basis. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean the Lakers' management shouldn't look to cut the production on their newest film: Russell Westbrook's second season with the team.

It has become pretty apparent that Westbrook doesn't want to be in Los Angeles. The former MVP was seen away from the Lakers huddle in a preseason game, adding onto the list of questionable and uncomfortable scenes since Westbrook's arrival.

Nobody from the Lakers' management has protested the idea that Westbrook isn't wanted, and the team has already searched for potential trade partners and will continue to do so. Here are some potential landing spots for the 33-year-old point guard as the regular season tips off.


New Orleans Pelicans

Jaxson Hayes #10 of the New Orleans Pelicans high fives CJ McCollum #3 against the Chicago Bulls during the first half of a preseason game at the United Center

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  • Lakers receive: CJ McCollum, Jaxson Hayes
  • Pelicans receive: Russell Westbrook, 2024 or 2025 first-round pick, 2026 first-round pick

In a lot of ways, the Pelicans have already plucked away at the Lakers' future. The Pelicans have the right to swap first-round picks with the Lakers in 2023, and they also own the right to have either the 2024 or 2025 first-round pick, whichever they choose.

The main problem for the Lakers is that Westbrook's contract is a burden for anyone who wants to take it on, and the team will have to sacrifice future pieces. This means including future first-round picks will be essential for the Lakers to trade Westbrook.

Overall, this trade allows L.A. to get something to help them contend now with CJ McCollum, whose sharpshooting would make him a great fit alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. McCollum has averaged at least 20 points per game since 2015.

Phoenix Suns

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers defends against Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of Game Four of the Western Conference first-round playoff series

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  • Lakers receive: Chris Paul, Jae Crowder
  • Suns receive: Russell Westbrook, 2026 first-round pick, 2027 first-round pick

The Suns' experiment with Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton has mostly been a success, considering that the Suns had not reached the NBA Finals for almost 30 years before ending the drought in 2021.


Expectations change everything, though, and the belief in this Suns team has only decreased after its loss in the 2021 Finals was followed by elimination in the 2022 Conference Semifinals by the Dallas Mavericks, losing in blowout fashion in Games 6 and 7.

LeBron James has always wanted to play with Chris Paul, and if things go south this season for the Suns, they may consider offloading the veteran's longer-term contract to get something for the future while acquiring a rental point guard.

Charlotte Hornets

Terry Rozier #3 and Gordon Hayward #20 of the Charlotte Hornets react following a play during the second quarter of their game against the Golden State Warriors at Spectrum Center

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

  • Lakers receive: Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier
  • Hornets receive: Russell Westbrook, Kendrick Nunn, 2026 first-round pick

The Hornets have a reason to be excited about their future. LaMelo Ball has had a strong start to his career, making the All-Star game after winning Rookie of the Year in 2021. If he can develop into a superstar, a combination of other key players alongside him could eventually lead to contention.

Gordon Hayward, however, doesn't seem to be the guy to get the Hornets to that spot. Hayward has been plagued by injuries, playing in 52 games or fewer in each of the past three seasons. This trade allows Charlotte to offload an unfavorable contract and open future cap space for the player(s) who will help Ball and the Hornets rise in the Eastern Conference.


Los Angeles would need to hope Hayward stays healthy and shouldn't mind Terry Rozier at point to help run a smoother offense.

Indiana Pacers

Buddy Hield #24 of the Indiana Pacers brings the ball up court during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum

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  • Lakers receive: Buddy Hield
  • Pacers receive: Russell Westbrook, 2026 first-round pick, 2023 second-round pick, 2024 second-round pick

The Pacers are clearly in rebuild mode. If there was any hope of building a winning team, that dream was erased when Indiana decided to trade its second-leading scorer Domantas Sabonis in an out-of-the-blue trade in the middle of last season. Additionally, the team allowed point guard Malcolm Brogdon to walk away and sign with the Boston Celtics.

With no clear path to improvement from 25 wins a season ago, the Pacers shouldn't mind stacking more picks while allowing Westbrook to do his thing. If anything, Westbrook may be more efficient as a one-man show in Indianapolis instead of trying to fit alongside ball-dominant superstars such as James and Davis.

On the Lakers side, Hield seems like an obvious fit to help space the floor. James has traditionally played well alongside outside shooters he can kick it out to as he drives to the rim. Hield was second in the league last season with 262 made 3-pointers. A similar performance this season would be a huge boost for a Lakers offense that shot 34.7% from beyond the arc last season, which ranked 21st in the NBA.


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