Russell Westbrook Trade Rumors: Pacers, Hornets Early Favorites

There are two early suitors who might be interested in landing guard Russell Westbrook from the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason.

The Los Angeles Lakers were expected to be in contention for the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the end of the 2021-22 regular season, especially after bringing in Russell Westbrook as a guard. Instead, the team failed to qualify for the Play-In tournament as they finished 11th in the Western Conference with a 33-49 record.

Westbrook never really caught on in Los Angeles and could potentially be moved this offseason. But who would be interested in acquiring it?

Dan Woike from the Los Angeles Times wrote that the Indiana Pacers and Charlotte Hornets could be involved in a trade with the Lakers for Westbrook.

“Teams like Charlotte and Indiana, two that league sources say could be involved, could potentially bring a package of players to the Lakers for Westbrook,” Woike wrote.

Russell Westbrook Trade Rumors: Pacers, Hornets Early Favorites

The Pacers have already been linked to Westbrook. The Athletic’s Shams Charania wrote that competing executives believe Indiana could be a potential contender for the 2017 NBA Most Valuable Player.

Indiana finished 13th in the Eastern Conference with a 25-57 record.

The Hornets finished 10th in the East for the second straight year, which put them in a play-in game. Just like the year before, the Hornets were blown out, this time by the Atlanta Hawks.

What makes the trade difficult for Westbrook is that he carries a salary of $47 million for the 2022-23 season if he is to take his player option. If he does, the Lakers would have to work out a trade with interested teams, which could very well be difficult.

Westbrook played in 78 games for Los Angeles that season, where he averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 29.8 percent from three-pointers -Line shot.

The Lakers will be the team to chase this offseason. They must find a new head coach to replace Frank Vogel, who was fired at the end of the campaign, and figure out how to build a contender in the tough Western Conference as LeBron James enters his final year of contract with the team. Of course, it will be interesting to see if the Lakers find a trading partner for Westbrook, or if they let him return at the start of next season. Russell Westbrook Trade Rumors: Pacers, Hornets Early Favorites

John Verrall

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