Russell Westbrook trade rumors: The Hornets are a team to watch in a potential Lakers goalkeeper deal, per report

If the Los Angeles Lakers are looking to trade off Russell Westbrook over the course of the season, as many of them expect, there is at least one team that might have some interest in acquiring the veteran guard. According to NBA reporter Mark Stein, the Charlotte Hornets are a team that should keep an eye on Westbrook’s front.

Charlotte’s interest in Westbrook is largely financial, according to Stein, with the trade likely to help the team clear some maximum space after the 2022-23 season. Westbrook has a $47 million player option for next season that he is widely expected to exercise. It will then become an unrestricted free agent in 2023.

From Stein:

All-star guard LaMelo Ball is completely disguised as the Hornets’ face of the franchise and a star on the ball, but one of the tour-making scenarios is the belief that the Hornets could emerge with Westbrook’s interest in the name of creating some financial flexibility.

Gordon Hayward has two seasons left on his $120 million four-year contract and has appeared in just 49 of Charlotte’s 79 games this season. Terry Rozier has done well this season, with an average PER of 17.36, but next season is his first in four years, $97 million.

With the Hornets facing massive signing expense [Miles] Bridges to extend this lucrative off-season contract, followed by the eventual prospect of a maximum ball extension, and combining one of their long-term deals with the last season in a two-year, $24.5 million Kelly Uber Jr charter, for example, could serve as a viable business framework. Any Westbrook team that trades should send in roughly $38 million in salary.

While Hornets owner Michael Jordan has long been touted as a fan of Westbrook, it’s not yet clear if that will give the concept of the business more life. However, the scenario has been mentioned by several competing teams in recent weeks, and if nothing else, it shows the possibility that the Lakers will be largely limited to deals in which the team gets more long-term cash if they want to move on. Off Westbrook immediately.

Westbrook is coming off the worst season of his career, so it’s not as if suitors will be lining up for his services. If the Hornets came to the Lakers with an offer, they would have no choice but to consider it. Westbrook clearly didn’t fit in with LeBron James in Los Angeles, so parting ways definitely seem like the best route.

It’s fair to wonder why the Hornets would care about adding Westbrook, especially when they have a young goalkeeper in control of the ball at the LaMelo Ball. Westbrook has shown in Los Angeles that he’s uncomfortable playing ball, so his fitness in Charlotte will be in doubt, at best. But, if they do capture it, it will only be for one season, and therefore not a long-term commitment. If Charlotte can justify the move internally, we may see Westbrook wearing a new (another) outfit next season.