With less than six days to go before the NBA trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers are quickly ramping up their participation in the league’s annual rumor mill. In addition to being connected to another potential Kyrie Irving pursuit, the team has also reportedly re-engaged in talks to move Russell Westbrook to the Utah Jazz.
But according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, those are not the only two potential Westbrook dumping grounds for L.A., as Fischer wrote on Friday afternoon that the Lakers would still consider flipping Russ for Charlotte Hornets guard Terry Rozier:
Rob Pelinka’s front office has continued dialogue with rival teams about trading Russell Westbrook, most notably conversations with the Jazz as reported by Bleacher Report. Charlotte, with guard Terry Rozier, remains another possible trade partner for Westbrook, sources said.
This is at least the third time the Lakers have been linked to Rozier in trade rumors since the offseason, as the team not only tried to get Rozier in a three-team Donovan Mitchell trade, but also were reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic to have “high” interest in Rozier in October. And given this front office’s love of undersized bucket-getters, their love of Rozier’s game is hardly surprising.
Rozier is also interesting, however, because — unlike many hypothetical Westbrook trade targets — the Lakers could also acquire him in a separate deal without Russ, at least salary-wise. Financially, a Patrick Beverley + Lonnie Walker IV swap is legal, per Fanspo’s trade machine:
For the Lakers, this type of deal would let them at least coalesce their glut of tiny guards into one more talented, also tiny guard. For the Hornets, they would probably want draft pick compensation there for a player who is averaging 21.7 points per game for them this season. But considering that they would be getting off long-term money (Rozier signed a four-year, $96.3 million extension last summer) as they look to be able to afford to keep unrestricted free agent Jalen McDaniels this offseason, could the Lakers get Rozier for just a protected first-round pick as a backup option if their dreams of bigger moves fall through at the deadline? It certainly seems possible, depending on how cheap Michael Jordan is feeling right now.
Or the team could do as Fischer is saying and just acquire Scary Terry in a Russ swap, which would require the Hornets to add significantly more salary to make it work. Either way, it seems the Lakers are still considering a wide range of routes and options ahead of the Feb. 9 deadline for deals.