To get rid of Russell Westbrook’s expired contract, the Lakers will have to exhaust every avenue imaginable. Having announced during most of the qualifiers that they were seriously considering keeping him, the front office appears to be looking to leverage any leverage created to make a move in the near future.
Among those perks, the Lakers dubbed the Indiana Pacers. The basis of the deal remains something strictly centered around Ross, Malcolm Brugdon and Buddy Heald so the finances can work. On Tuesday’s episode of Zach Lowe’s Post LoweToward the end of the episode about the Lakers, Jonathan Jevonne stopped by to talk about the draft and shared this nugget:
“They’re lively. You hear some, you know, call Indiana and say, “How do you feel about Westbrook and Talen Horton-Tucker and our first-rounder of 2026?” And they get a nice chuckle and “No thank you.” We have better deals on the table. So. “
It should be noted that the tone Givony used in this was more of a hypothetical tone and he did not appear to have been reporting on this specific deal offered by the Lakers. First, the deal doesn’t work from a salary standpoint and two, the Lakers technically don’t have a 2026 option available to trade, despite Eric Pincus of Ovarian Report I provided some clarifications on this:
Asked, how would the Lakers trade in 2026 first if they could owe the year 2024 or 2025 to the Pelicans. I wrote about how to get around the Steppin Rule Tweet embed https://t.co/k0EPEjy8XJ – The answer to this question will be in the next two years section
Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) June 21 2022
What Jevonne did report, however, is that the Lakers discussed deals for Brogdon. It would be difficult to pull out, but the logic behind the Ross-Brogdon deal is similar to discussions with the Hornets over Westbrook for Gordon Hayward and Terry Roser. There is current value in the players, but the total of their long-term contracts outweighs their advantages on the field, especially for their current teams.
With Brogdon, it’s a little different because he’s a 50/40/90 caliber player when he’s healthy, even if that’s usually only about 50 games each season. For this reason, the Pacers may be looking for a better deal than direct salary dumping, which would expire at this point for Ross.
In the same episode, Lowe also reported this about Anthony Davis:
“Let’s make a few more things clear: I’ve been told in no uncertain terms that Anthony Davis isn’t trading, so let’s get that out of the way. Not to mention Kerry.”
This does not necessarily mean that it must be liquidated. But em will continue to be a laker.
Ross Kerry gossip
The big news on Monday was that the Lakers were interested in Kyrie Irving, who is still on the hook with the Nets. Sure, multiple teams are interested in Irving, but the Nets’ interest in what these teams offer is an entirely different story.
When it comes to what the Lakers might offer, the benefit simply isn’t there. Unlike other Russ trades, Nets does not gain any financial flexibility by trading for Russ. On top of that, Ross Kevin Durant’s team may have been played to its logical conclusion, and that was a decade ago when they each had much less physical limitations.
Most league members seem to be ignoring any potential hype regarding the Lakers-Nets guard swap, as pointed out Tuesday by Jake Fisher of Ovarian Report:
Irving’s interest in the Lakers and New York Knicks has sprouted among league personnel since the NBA draft in mid-May, but few team executives have given much credence to these conversations.
If Irving chooses to sign up for the 22-23 season in hopes of being traded to Los Angeles, Brooklyn will have little incentive to negotiate with the Lakers, who will struggle to send a level playing field into the net.
The only way to make a deal that sends Irving to LA in exchange for Ross might be with a three-way team. For example, a team like Charlotte or Indiana could step in to face Ross who is expiring due to the financial flexibility his contract gives him after this season, while Brooklyn might prefer Hayward, Rozier, Brogdon or Hield over Westbrook or Kyrie.
But there are several steps on the road to a deal that few believe will happen, as Mark Stein pointed out in his Spotify Greenroom session with Kevin O’Connor of ringer on Monday.
“My very interesting view is that the Nets are not going to bring Russell Westbrook back to Kyrie Irving…One for one, the Nets are not making a Kyrie deal with the Lakers. I’m really struggling to see it.”
O’Connor went on to discuss how a three-team trade might be possible, but as Stein noted, a direct exchange between Westbrook for Irving seems impossible at this point.
for more Lakers Speak up, subscribe to the silver screen broadcast feed and roll ItunesAnd the spotifyAnd the Stitcher or google podcast. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at Tweet embed.