Russell Westbrook trade rumours: Hornets a team to watch in potential Lakers Guard deal, per report

Bestinau got that-

Should the Los Angeles Lakers want to trade Russell Westbrook off-season, as many expect, there is at least one team that could be interested in acquiring the veteran guard. According to NBA reporter Marc Stein, the Charlotte Hornets are a team to watch on the Westbrook front.

Charlotte’s interest in Westbrook is largely financial, according to Stein, as trading for him could potentially help the team free up some cap space after the 2022-23 season. Westbrook has a $47 million player option for next season, which he is widely expected to exercise. He will then become an unrestricted free agent in 2023.

Of stone:

All-Star guard LaMelo Ball is firmly entrenched as the face of the franchise’s Hornets and on-the-ball star, but one scenario doing the rounds is the belief that the Hornets could emerge with interest of Westbrook in the name of creating some financial flexibility.

Gordon Hayward has two seasons left on a $120 million four-year contract, having played in just 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 will be Year 1 of a $97 million four-year extension.

With the Hornets facing the impending cost of signing [Miles] Bridges a lucrative contract extension this off-season, followed by the eventual prospect of a maximum extension for Ball, combining one of their long-term deals with the final season of Kelly Oubre Jr.’s two-year pact of $24.5 million, as a could act as a workable trading framework. Each team that trades for Westbrook must send approximately $38 million in salary.

While Hornets owner Michael Jordan has long been a Westbrook devotee, it’s not clear yet if that would give such a trading concept any more life. The scenario has nevertheless been mentioned by multiple rival teams in recent weeks and at least illustrates the likelihood that the Lakers would be largely confined to trades in which they are the team to take more long-term money if they want to move out of Westbrook immediately.

Westbrook is coming off arguably the worst season of his career, so it’s not like suitors will be lining up for his services. When the Hornets come to the Lakers with an offer, they have no choice but to consider it. Westbrook clearly didn’t fit in with LeBron James in LA, so a parting of ways certainly seems like the best route.

It’s reasonable to wonder why the Hornets would be interested in adding Westbrook, especially when they have a young, ball-dominant guard in LaMelo Ball. Westbrook showed in LA that he isn’t comfortable playing the ball, so his fit in Charlotte would be questionable at best. But if they were to acquire him, it would only be for a single season, not a long-term commitment. If Charlotte can justify the move internally, we may see Westbrook in (another) new uniform next season.

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