The Lakers are in a situation in which they can not be picky about what they get in return for Russell Westbrook in a trade. With so few options and with Russ playing so poorly, the choices have dwindled drastically.
However, one name that keeps recirculating in rumors is Hornets guard Terry Rozier. The Lakers reportedly discussed a deal for the guard as part of a four-team trade that, obviously, never transpired. But on Monday, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported the Lakers remain interested in Rozier.
Charlotte’s Terry Rozier emerged as a trade target for the Lakers in the offseason and their interest in him remains high, multiple sources tell The Athletic. The Lakers and Hornets held discussions about a possible three- or four-team trade during the summer, and hold him in high regard among their possible trade possibilities, but the dynamic Hornets guard’s availability will be entirely predicated on the franchise’s direction for the future and its play as the season goes on. Despite LaMelo Ball being sidelined with a Grade 2 ankle sprain and Rozier recently suffering his own sprained ankle, the Hornets and coach Steve Clifford are off to a 2-1 start in the Eastern Conference.
Early in the offseason, the Hornets were heavily mentioned as a trade target for the Lakers and Westbrook. However, the ongoing legal case with Miles Bridges drastically altered their offseason and changed the outlook of their future. As it stands, the team no longer needs to free up money long-term, thus negating most of Westbrook’s value in a trade.
Charlotte is in an interesting position now. Without Bridges, the team teeters on being a playoff team. A slow start could push them closer to tanking for Victor Wembanyama to pair him with LaMelo Ball, potentially. That would be about the only scenario right now that would see Charlotte part with Rozier.
Financially, the trade would have to include some combination of Gordon Hayward, Kelly Oubre or Mason Plumlee, the former two of which could be a big boost for a Lakers team without wings. But Rozier’s own 3-point proclivity would be a very welcome sight for a purple and gold side that has been historically bad to open the year.