2. The Los Angeles Lakers get Russell Westbrook from Washington
We already broke down why a Russell Westbrook trade is not as crazy as it sounds for the Los Angeles Lakers. The Washington Wizards could get delusional and hold onto Westbrook after they made the playoffs this season but that would be poor roster management.
The Washington Wizards have to remember that they got Westbrook just to get John Wall’s contract off the books. If they can get actual assets for Westbrook that would be a huge win and a team like the Lakers could be willing to give up those assets.
The framework of this trade is exactly the same, the Lakers are just getting a different former all-star point guard in return. The logic here is obviously exactly the same and I know that most fans are going to scoff at the THT part of this but that is business.
It is obviously better if the Lakers can keep THT, especially if they can somehow still move up in the draft to get Kispert. But with THT being a restricted free agent nothing is guaranteed and it is better to flip the asset than lose the asset.
The logic here for Washington is simple: strike while the iron is hot on Westbrook. You might not be able to trade him ever again and here they can catch a team that is willing to take a risk and would rather spend the salary cap space on Westbrook than Schroder and Kuzma.
When it is put that way it does not seem so bad. Westbrook as third banana is just fine and Schroder and Kuzma are absolutely irreplaceable. I would rather overpay the star than overpay Schroder. Neither Schroder or Westbrook are great Xs and Os fits but Westbrook is more talented.
The starting five would then be Westbrook/Walker, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, cheap center (let’s say Nerlens Noel for simplicity’s sake). The reserves would be Corey Kispert, Alex Caruso, an MLE signing, Marc Gasol and a few veteran minimum players.
That is a pretty solid outlook for the Los Angeles Lakers.