The Los Angeles Lakers have been trying and failing to find a suitable trade partner for Russell Westbrook all offseason long, as his down year in 2022 proved that he is a far cry away from the dominant triple-double force that he was in his prime Oklahoma City days.
On top of the fact that Westbrook is a declining asset off a terrible season, he is the second-highest paid player in the league. Matching that salary is going to be an impossible task for large chunks of the league, even if you remove his declining play from the equation.
With the Dallas Mavericks always willing to chase superstars with name recognition, Rob Pelinka tried to see if Nico Harrison would be willing to take on Westbrook’s deal. Based on his reaction, Lakers fans should cross Dallas off a potential list of landing spots.
Tim MacMahon, appearing on Brian Windhorst’s podcast, claimed that his sources gave him a firm “hell no” on the Mavericks’ interest in Westbrook. Dallas is looking for stars around Luka Doncic, but Westbrook is evidently nowhere close to being considered a possibility.
It appears as though the triple-double maestro will be stuck as the third banana in LA once again.
The Mavericks won’t acquire Russell Westbrook from the Lakers
The Mavericks need to get Doncic some extra help, but is a ball-dominant guard who is deficient defensively really what they need alongside…another ball-dominant guard who is deficient defensively? Is it worth sacrificing all of that depth to acquire Westbrook?
The best trade for both parties would have been sending Westbrook to the Pacers for a package featuring Myles Turner and Buddy Hield. Unfortunately, it appears as if those trade talks are completely dead. Considering how good those two players are, this makes sense from Indiana’s point of view.
According to a report by Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Jazz and Knicks have expressed some degree of interest in acquiring Westbrook. While talks are slowing to a crawl right now, there is still a chance, however small it is, that Russ ends up getting shipped away.
The fall from grace Westbrook has experienced over the last few years is genuinely tough to see. This future Hall of Famer is now stuck in a situation that is mutually destructive thanks to an ill-fated supermax contract. Dallas won’t help LA dig themselves out of the mess they created, so other avenues must be explored.