By Adam Thompson | | 4 mins
Russell Westbrook Trade Odds: Will Lakers Find A Partner?
The LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook super team assembled by the Los Angeles Lakers last offseason made them championship favorites on most NBA futures boards.
Instead, the Lakers failed to reach the postseason for the seventh time in nine seasons, and for the second time with LeBron at the head of the table. While James and Davis have missed a significant number of games due to injury, much of the finger-pointing has been directed at Westbrook.
The knock on him is he’s always been a statistical standout without the team success to go with it. He is durable, however – something that can’t be said of the Lakers’ other stars – playing in all but one game while averaging 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per game.
L.A. decided to give it one more go with their “Big Three,” but so far all the Lakers have done is picked up where they left off. They’re 0-3 and rank dead-last in the NBA with a 40.7% shooting percentage. The last loss came after Westbrook re-entered the game with 4:42 remaining and the Lakers up by eight; they lost to the Trail Blazers.
Westbrook has looked miserable on the offensive end, averaging 10.3 ppg on 28.9% shooting, including 1-of-12 on 3s. His 6.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game are also well below his totals of just last season.
If the Lakers want to move in another direction, trading Westbrook makes sense. Bookies.com oddsmaker Adam Thompson has analyzed the league landscape and revealed his NBA odds for which teams could be in the market to trade for Russell Westbrook:
Russell Westbrook Team After Trade Deadline Odds
|Los Angeles Lakers||+150||40%|
|San Antonio Spurs||+750||11.8%|
|Orlando Magic||+1000||9.1%||The Field||+500||16.7%|
The final piece of the Lakers superteam has criticized how he’s being used, but his play hasn’t meshed with James or Davis, and Westbrook was even benched in some games last year. Now Lakers legend Magic Johnson has criticized Westbrook, saying the player needs to take some accountability for his issues.
Following a mostly successful 11-year run with the Thunder, Westbrook, 34, played one season in Houston and one season in Washington before coming to L.A. Both those teams fell well short of expectations with Westbrook leading the charge surrounded by other stars.
Westbrook is due to make over $47 million this year before becoming an unrestricted free agent for 2023-24. Will any team even want Westbrook, especially at such an audacious price?
Who Wants Westbrook?
As poorly as Westbrook has been on offense, he’s led a Lakers defensive surge that has the team ranked third on that side of the court. So he’s not completely inept. Maybe in the right situation, he can be the guy again.
Only two teams can afford to take on even a fraction of Westbrook’s salary. One is the Indiana Pacers, but they have a young, budding PG in Tyrese Haliburton. That said, they could use more punch out of the shooting guard spot with 2021 lottery pick Chris Duarte (6.8 ppg) perhaps in for a sophomore slump.
The other is the San Antonio Spurs, which has Tre Jones (14.8 ppg, 4.5 apg), who is making under $2 million this season at nearly the same output. He was regarded as one of the bottom-tier starting PGs coming into the year.
Both those teams are about $26-27 million under the cap, so they’d still need major help to get a move done. Any other team that would want to make a move would have to send back basically an equal amount of salary to break even.
The Pacers reportedly nearly made a move for Westbrook in the offseason for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner (Indy would have also received a couple of first-round draft picks). The Lakers were also in discussions with the Utah Jazz before talks fizzled, but the ground was laid to pick up the chatter now that the season is underway again.
The Orlando Magic don’t have the injured Markelle Fultz and are 0-4 in the early going. They might be in better shape financially than most. Then we need to factor in teams that are seeking a marquee name. A reunion with the Oklahoma City Thunder isn’t out of the realm of possibility, especially if OKC get secure a good draft pick(s) while absorbing Westbrook's expiring contract.