Last summer, Russell Westbrook was involved in a five-team trade that sent him from the Washington Wizards to the Los Angeles Lakers. However, the trade didn’t work out in the Lakers’ favor. They missed the playoffs in 2021-22 and Westbrook was second in the NBA in turnovers and had the sixth-worst effective field goal percentage.
The Lakers are trying to trade Westbrook before the 2022-23 season starts, with ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reporting on July 9 that the franchise has spoken to the Brooklyn Nets and Indiana Pacers about a Westbrook trade.
Westbrook, the 2016-17 MVP, isn’t the only star involved in trade rumors. Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell and Kyrie Irving have been on the trade block as well and Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey has a blockbuster trade idea.
In a July 22 column, Bailey proposed that the Lakers, Nets, Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks complete a five-team trade. Here are the details of his grand deal:
- Los Angeles Lakers Receive: Kyrie Irving, Patrick Beverley and Dario Saric
- Brooklyn Nets Receive: Mikal Bridges, Talen Horton-Tucker, Cameron Payne, a 2025 first-round pick from Phoenix, a 2027 first-round pick from Phoenix, a 2027 first-round pick from Los Angeles, a 2029 first-round pick from Phoenix and a 2029 first-round pick from New York
- Utah Jazz Receive: Russell Westbrook, Quentin Grimes, Cam Reddish, Evan Fournier, Jae Crowder, Landry Shamet, a 2023 first-round pick from New York, a 2023 first-round pick from Phoenix, a 2025 first-round pick from New York, a 2027 first-round pick from New York and a 2029 first-round pick from Los Angeles
- Phoenix Suns Receive: Kevin Durant and Bojan Bogdanovic
- New York Knicks Receive: Donovan Mitchell and Cam Thomas
The Lakers would acquire Irving, Patrick Beverley and Dario Saric in this colossus hypothetical trade. Irving played three seasons with LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers, Beverley is familiar with Los Angeles since he spent four seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers and Saric could help the Lakers with his 3-point shooting.
This Trade Would Be Great for the Lakers
The Lakers could compete for the title next season if they acquired Irving, Beverley and Saric. Irving would be a more suitable fit next to James and Anthony Davis than Westbrook was last season since he can shoot from the perimeter. Irving is a career 39.3% shooter from beyond the arc, while Westbrook is at 30.5%.
“Kyrie’s fit in L.A. probably doesn’t require much analysis. He and LeBron won a title together in 2016,” Bailey wrote. “He can shoot, which is the biggest differentiator between him and Westbrook. And he’s almost four years younger than Westbrook, too. Even with whatever off-court concerns may come with Kyrie, replacing Russ with him feels like a no-brainer.”
Beverley is one of the top defenders in the NBA. He’s averaged 1.1 steals during his career and his defense, passion, toughness and competitiveness could help the Lakers get back to the promised land next season. Los Angeles needs an elite and pesky defender like Beverley on the perimeter. The purple and gold gave up 115.1 points per game last season and had a defensive rating of 113.3.
“Beverley is a nominal point guard, but he’s shown an ability and willingness to defend wings,” Bailey wrote. “He doesn’t ask for much usage on the other end, either. He’s purely a three-and-D guard, something that has proved effective alongside LeBron over the years. And his off-ball experience means he can play alongside Kyrie (even if they don’t start together).”
Saric missed all of last season recovering from a torn ACL. However, he’s a career 35.7% shooter from deep and the Lakers’ priority this summer is to address outside shooting, according to a June 30 report from McMenamin.
Westbrook Would Probably Get Bought Out by Utah
Westbrook and the Jazz would likely agree to a buyout if this trade Bailey proposed happened. Utah would be in full rebuild mode if Mitchell was traded since Rudy Gobert is already gone.
“Utah already signaled the start of a rebuild when it dealt three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a pick-laden package. If Mitchell goes as well, the Jazz will be firmly in the fray for the top odds in next year’s draft lottery,” Bailey wrote. “That isn’t a situation Russ will want to be in (nor would the Jazz want him there).”
Westbrook, 33, started 78 games for the Lakers last season. He averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists while shooting 44.4% from the field, 29.8% from beyond the arc and 66.7% from the free-throw line. The UCLA product picked up his $47.1 million player option for next season.