The NBA rumor mill is revving up to peak RPM with the trade deadline less than a month away. The average-at-best Lakers could use a roster shake up, but are short on assets to acquire a quality player. An additional problem is that their most ill-fitting piece, Russell Westbrook, is owed $44.2M this year and $47M next year.
Westbrook’s behemoth contract limits potential Russ suitors if the Lakers were interested in moving him.
Brian Windhorst and Bobby Marks of ESPN bandied about the potential of a second Russell Westbrook-for-John Wall trade on an episode of The Hoop Collective. Their basis for the discussion about a hypothetical trade was that Wall and Westbrook are roughly owed the same amount of money on their Texas-sized supermax contracts.
“The money is the same…you’re not planning on playing John wall. There’s really no difference between not playing John Wall and not playing Russell Westbrook. You’re just not really interested in helping the Lakers.”
Wall and the Rockets reportedly mutually agreed that the guard won’t play for the team this season back in September. The two sides also agreed that they would work together to find a trade partner for Wall.
In addition to not being inclined to help the Lakers, Windhorst noted that Westbrook likely isn’t interested in a return to the Rockets.
Windhorst did mention that the Rockets could explore releasing him, buying him out, or waive him if they did re-acquire Russ.
Those are two major roadblocks to a potential Wall-for-Westbrook sequel.
On the basketball side of things, Windhorst does believe that Wall would be a slight upgrade over Westbrook.
“Not that everything would be solved if the lakers had John Wall, but he’s more the type of point guard the Lakers need right now as opposed to Russell Westbrook I think. I think it might be a slight change that would help them.”
The two guards were famously traded for each other in December of 2020 . The Wizards sent Wall and a first round pick to Houston in exchange for Westbrook.
Wall averaged 20.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 6.9 APG in 40 games with Houston. He shot 40% from the field and 31.7% from three.
Wall isn’t the same player he used to be due to an avalanche injuries in the last few years. He is however, one of the few options for the Lakers if they want to move on from Westbrook.