As trades have come and gone this summer across the NBA, Russell Westbrook has remained a Laker through it all. Despite being rumored to a half-dozen teams and the Lakers having discussions with half the league, hardly anything has felt imminent.
One of the closest calls, relatively speaking, the Lakers have had this offseason came with the Utah Jazz in relation to the Donovan Mitchell trade. With Russell Westbrook’s enormous expiring contract being perfect as cap ballast in the deal, everything made sense for the Lakers to be included as a complementary team.
However, largely due to the Knicks having their bluff called, the Jazz shifted course and completed a trade with the Cavaliers straight up. According to Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic, the Lakers not only were in discussions for the deal, but it was reportedly a four-team deal that also looped in the Charlotte Hornets.
The Lakers discussed a four-team trade with Utah, New York and Charlotte ahead of the Donovan-Mitchell-to-Cleveland trade, according to league sources. One preliminary iteration of a four-team deal would have had Bojan Bogdanović and Terry Rozier going back to Los Angeles.
Unfortunately, there are no other details about the proposed trade to get a full sense of what the deal would have looked like. Given the “preliminary iteration” qualifier, it could be a fair assumption that there wasn’t much in the way of further discussions.
Financially, the contracts of Terry Rozier and Bojan Bogdanovic equal right over $40 million, close enough to the $47 million deal of Russ’ to make the deal work. So, potentially, there was nothing else in the trade.
Rozier and Bogdanovic would drastically improve one of the Lakers’ biggest weaknesses in their outside shooting. For all the flack Rozier and the Hornets received for his contract once leaving Boston, the guard has lived up to his end of the bargain. Rozier has averaged 19.3 points per game in Charlotte, shooting 44.4% from the field and 38.8% from the 3-point line in that span.
Depending on the desires of each team in the trade, the deal could theoretically be revisited; but given the two players coming to the Lakers in the deal, it may be hard to find the right level of compensation for all parties. Charlotte was also one of the first teams rumored to be interested in Westbrook back in the spring, which feels like roughly 16 months ago.
Instead, though, the more likely scenario appears to be the Lakers and Jazz revisiting a deal themselves. But as training camp nears and the Lakers continue acquiring other point guards, it does increasingly feel like Westbrook’s time is quickly dwindling in Los Angeles.
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