Russell Westbrook’s arrival to the Lakers this past offseason was celebrated by the team and the player for him it was a homecoming alike. However, as some analysts anticipated, it didn’t work out that well.
The former NBA MVP struggled for large parts of the season to the point where his name was widely circulated in trade deadline rumors. If it wasn’t for his big contract that limited potential trades, Westbrook might have been sent to another team.
His contract remains the main obstacle going forward too. While Russ expressed his wish to run it back next year with the Lakers, the team may have different plans.
Previously the Rockets was talked about in the media as the only possible trade partner for Los Angeles. However, there is growing sentiment from NBA insiders that the Hornets could be an option as well.
Via Marc Stein:
“Charlotte has been increasingly mentioned by league insiders as a team to watch on the Westbrook front. All-Star guard LaMelo Ball is firmly ensconced as the Hornets’ face of the franchise and on-the-ball star, but one scenario making the rounds is a belief that the Hornets could emerge with Westbrook interest in the name of creating some financial flexibility. Gordon Hayward has two seasons left on a four-year, $120 million contract and has appeared in only 49 of Charlotte’s 79 games this season. Terry Rozier has performed well this season, with an above-average PER of 17.36, but next season is Year 1 of a four-year, $97 million extension.”
Another option for the Lakers, should they decide to part ways with Westbrook, would be to waive him and stretch his contract over three years with $15 million per year.
This season Westbrook is averaging 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 34.3 minutes per game.