Michael Scotto and Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype explore potential offseason moves for the Lakers in their latest podcast. Scotto asked three different league executives for their opinions regarding Russell Westbrook‘s trade value, with slightly different results.
One said he had no interest in acquiring Westbrook whatsoever. The second executive called Westbrook’s contract “terrible” and said it’s viewed very negatively around the league, and would only be dealt for multiple other salary dumps.
The third executive was a little more circumspect in his assessment, noting that Westbrook’s $47MM player option for 2022/23 is likely to be perceived as a negative asset, but certain teams might take it on in order to get rid of long-term contracts.
Gozlan doesn’t think the Lakers’ front office will consider using the waive-and-stretch provision on Westbrook, considering the team will finally be clear of Luol Deng‘s dead money cap hit ($5MM) this summer. Teams might be interested trading for Westbrook if he indicates he’d accept a buyout agreement for a slightly discounted rate — perhaps $5-10MM less — which Gozlan believes is the high-end of the range he might earn as a free agent.
Both Gozlan and Scotto think that the framework for a potential Westbrook/John Wall swap will be revisited this summer, with one GM telling Scotto that he thinks the Rockets guard can still be a high-level backup in the NBA, or even a fringe starter.
Here are some more Lakers rumors:
- Scotto queried four executives to gauge the value of unrestricted free agent Malik Monk, and they projected his next deal to be in the range of the taxpayer mid-level exception ($6.4MM) to the non-taxpayer mid-level ($10MM). As of now, the most the Lakers can offer Monk is the taxpayer mid-level.
- Expect Los Angeles to again dangle Talen Horton-Tucker ($10.26MM), Kendrick Nunn ($5.25MM) and draft compensation to improve the roster, says Scotto.
- League executives agree that former coach Frank Vogel was the scapegoat for the team’s disastrous season, with one noting that the well-respected Vogel should “be able to pick his spot as a high-level assistant if that’s something he wants to do,” according to Scotto.
- LeBron James‘ future in L.A. is the biggest story surrounding the franchise, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. James is eligible for a two-year, $97MM extension in August, which could secure his place on the roster through 2025. However, sources at Klutch Sports say that the agency and James have yet to discuss the star’s future, per Pincus.