After a disappointing 2021-22 season, the Lakers did everything they could to unload Westbrook’s expiring $47 million contract in a trade this offseason, although they haven’t found any takers.
The Lakers are hoping that an otherwise improved roster and a new head coach in Darvin Ham will lead to a bounce-back season from Westbrook.
If things don’t get off to a good start though then the Lakers will surely again look to trade Westbrook between now and the trade deadline.
Here are some of the options that may be out there ahead of the deadline if the Lakers are willing to include draft compensation to get off Westbrook:
1. Myles Turner and Buddy Hield
The Lakers’ trade talks with the Indiana Pacers perhaps got further than any of their other options this summer. The rebuilding Pacers have been looking to trade Myles Turner and Buddy Hield for a while now and a deal may make sense for both sides considering the Lakers lack shooting and interior defense, which the two Indiana players would provide.
Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan has been insistent on the Lakers sending both their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in return, but considering Turner’s contract is expiring and they will lose him for nothing next offseason, that price may come down by the deadline.
2. Kyrie Irving
It’s no secret that the Lakers attempted to acquire Kyrie Irving this summer while the Brooklyn Nets were in turmoil.
Irving wound up staying in Brooklyn when Kevin Durant rescinded his trade request, but the situation is worth monitoring throughout the course of the season. If things go south, the Nets may look to flip Irving at the deadline before he becomes a free agent next summer, similar to the Pacers with Turner.
The Lakers were the only known team with interest in Irving this offseason, which was believed to be mutual. So if the Nets do want to make a trade at the deadline, the Lakers may be their best and only option.
3. Doug McDermott, Josh Richardson and Jacob Poeltl
The San Antonio Spurs package that has been talked about involving Doug McDermott, Josh Richardson and Jacob Poeltl may not be the sexy move that fans are envisioning, but it would give the Lakers some shooting, wing defense and interior defense.
With the Spurs not expected to compete this year, they will likely be sellers at the trade deadline and have cap space to take on Westbrook if incentivized with draft picks.
4. Bojan Bogdanovic, Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel
One of the Lakers’ other top trade targets this offseason was Bojan Bogdanovic before he was ultimately traded from the Utah Jazz to the Detroit Pistons.
While the Pistons acquired Bogdanovic to add some shooting in hopes of competing this year, his contract is expiring so if things don’t go as planned, they could look to move him at the deadline.
Similar to the other potential deals, this one would give the Lakers some much-needed shooting and some size on the wing.