Leading up to the NBA trade deadline, one thing that became clear according to numerous reports was that the Los Angeles Lakers tried to trade Russell Westbrook.
The Lakers gave up significant players and assets to acquire Westbrook last summer, hoping he would be their third star alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
To this point though, it has not worked out that way as Westbrook’s play has been up and down, contributing to the Lakers having a poor 26-30 record.
Trading Westbrook was no easy task though, which is why he ultimately didn’t get moved. The only deal that made some sense was to the Houston Rockets for John Wall, although Houston reportedly wanted L.A. to add its 2027 first-round pick, which they refused to do.
According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, the Lakers also tried to make another trade involving Westbrook earlier in the season to the Sacramento Kings for Buddy Hield:
That being said, it has long since been revealed that the Lakers (26-30, ninth place in the Western Conference) know they made a mistake by adding Westbrook. I wrote in early January about how they showed covert interest in discussing possible Westbrook deals early on this season. The “covert” part, in case anyone wondered, referred to the general idea that they were really hoping Westbrook wouldn’t find out.
But more specifically, sources say one such scenario involved Sacramento and — wait for it — a deal in which then-Kings guard Buddy Hield would be sent to the Lakers. Yes, that’s the same Buddy Hield who came so close to being traded to the Lakers in the summer before they prioritized the Westbrook trade with Washington and left the Kings fuming (and who was traded to Indiana on Tuesday in the Kings’ deal for Domantis Sabonis).
Last summer, the Lakers reportedly had a deal in place with the Kings to acquire Hield, although at the last moment they decided to trade for Westbrook instead at the request of James and Davis.
It comes as no surprise that the Kings weren’t interested in working out a deal with the Lakers before the deadline after that happened, especially considering they would have had to add in more players along with Hield to match salaries with Westbrook.
The Lakers made their bed when they decided to trade for Westbrook, and now that no team was willing to take him at the deadline, they must lie in it, at least for the remainder of the season before resuming trade talks in the summer when his contract will be expiring.
Lakers have interest in reunion with Schroder
Even though the Lakers didn’t make any deadline moves, that doesn’t mean they aren’t looking for roster upgrades on the buyout market. One name they are already being linked to is Dennis Schroder, who was traded from the Boston Celtics to Houston Rockets and is likely to be bought out.
Whether or not Schroder would be interested in returning and backing up Westbrook remains to be seen considering they essentially kicked him to the curb last summer after he was unwilling to sign an extension to stay in L.A. long term.
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