There are only a few days left until the merciful end to the Lakers season, and yet it looks like the drama is just beginning to unfold. Based on leaks from the organization up to this point, it appears that Russell Westbrook showed up at the facility one day as everyone involved reluctantly pulled the trigger on the acquisition.
However, as everyone gets distracted from the accountability for this move, at some point, someone will have to work to fix a broken slate. Westbrook’s days with the Lakers are clearly numbered, but how his departure will be executed is complex but critical to the organization’s short- and long-term future.
Earlier this week, Mark Stein reported a potential deal between the Lakers and the Hornets that would land Westbrook in Charlotte while canceling some of their longer contracts. So, in today’s episode(s) of “The Hook,” Aaron Larswell and I took a look at such a deal and how it affects both sides.
It’s clear for the Lakers. Westbrook appears to have spent last season feuding with anyone and everyone, and as such, he and the Lakers are ready to move on. For the Hornets, well, money matters.
Gordon Hayward signed a four-year, $120 million deal in 2020 when he was signed and traded to Charlotte by Boston. He’s been hurt for most of that time and has two years left to make $30 million per season.
Charlotte has also signed Terry Rozier for a four-year, $97 million deal starting next year.
With guys on their list looking to get paid in the next few years, Charlotte will be looking to cut costs, and in this case, tearing the band for one season at the $47 million price tag of Westbrook makes it easier for them to do so.
No, Westbrook doesn’t make much sense in basketball for Charlotte, who already has a much more active on-ball presence at the LaMelo Ball, but as is often the case with NBA mini-markets, basketball sometimes comes secondary to the action.
This won’t be easy for the Lakers, by the way.
Hayward’s injury history is extensive and pairing that with LeBron and Anthony Davis doesn’t seem ideal. Rozier is closer to the base that the Lakers have been looking for as a way to lighten James’ creative burden, but that’s a good fit for him with questions as well.
Add to that any compensation project Charlotte might be looking at and it wouldn’t be an easy decision for anyone. But it’s a decision someone has to make.
Aaron and I have discussed this, the latest cycle of rumors from the organization, which teams we’re thinking of adopting for post-season and how the cordial relationship between Jenny Boss and Michael Jordan could help facilitate the aforementioned trade.
You can listen to the full episode below, and to make sure you never miss a show, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast at ItunesAnd the spotifyAnd the Stitcher or google podcast.
And for a short shaped brief case, check out Lakers Lowdown, where Anthony Irwin summarizes the previous day’s news and prepares you for the day ahead at LakerLand, every weekday morning in Silver Screen and Roll Podcast Nutrition.