#3: Russell Westbrook
The first player that the Los Angeles Lakers should avoid trading for is Russell Westbrook. Currently, the Houston Rockets are trying to clean house after parting ways with Mike D’Antoni and GM Darel Morey while also building around James Harden.
Under D’Antoni, the Rockets adopted a style of basketball that was a form of extreme small ball, paired with heavy isolation, and an offense built upon strictly layups and threes.
Last offseason, the Rockets put together a blockbuster trade that sent Chris Paul to the Oklahoma City Thunder in return for Russell Westbrook. Along with Paul, the Rockets gave up two draft picks and two pick swaps. The Rockets went all in for the 2020 season and have almost no young talent or draft capital left on the roster.
As a result of this overhaul of the franchise, Russell Westbrook and his enormous contract are on the trading block. A potential package that the Lakers would have to give up in return for Westbrook would be Danny Green, Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso, and two first-round picks.
While it does not seem like the Lakers would be giving up too much in this trade, this version of Russell Westbrook is not the dominant MVP caliber player that we saw in 2016. It seems that NBA defenses have Westbrook figured out and allow him to take jump shots that he is unable to make at an efficient rate.
One of the Laker’s greatest weaknesses is shooting. With LeBron James and Anthony Davis as the team’s established stars, it is essential to have shooters around them to help space the floor and allow there to be driving lanes. Opposing defenders would be able to sag off of Westbrook and help down on AD in the post or LeBron while he is driving.
Along with this, Westbrook needs the ball in his hands to do any damage on offense. If he were to be added to the roster, Westbrook would just be a redundant player and possibly even hurt the team in the long run.
Lastly, he has an enormous contract that is not going away anytime soon. This would eliminate them from any contention at Giannis or any other marquee free agent moving forward.