The Orlando Magic have a lot of things going right for them heading into the 2022-23 season. Not only did they draft potential star Paolo Banchero with the No. 1 overall pick in June, but they also retained Mo Bamba and Gary Harris – which are moves that could helpful both on and off the court (via potential trades) depending on how you look at it.
If Orlando wants to make one more splashy move this summer by trading for a big-name player while also accumulating more draft capital, perhaps it should consider Los Angeles Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook as an option.
The Lakers have talked to a handful of teams about potentially trading for Westbrook this offseason – most notably the Brooklyn Nets and Indiana Pacers – but nothing has come to fruition yet. This is likely because the Lakers don't want to part with future draft picks that could potentially hamstring the franchise in the post-LeBron James era. However, with James entering the final year of his contract with no guarantees of him signing an extension on Aug. 4, something has to give.
On Tuesday, Bleacher Report offered up an interesting trade scenario involving the Lakers and Magic:
Orlando Magic Receive: Russell Westbrook, a 2027 first-round pick and a 2023 second-round pick
Los Angeles Lakers Receive: Markelle Fultz, Gary Harris and Terrence Ross
If I'm the Magic, I'm asking for both available first-round picks from the Lakers. That Westbrook remains in Los Angeles to this point suggests the Lakers aren't keen on surrendering their 2027 and 2029 firsts in tandem, so it seems like this deal is only getting done if Orlando is willing to accept just one of those. The 2023 second-rounder is a consolation prize. – Grant Hughes
The interesting part of this situation – not just for the Magic, but for any potential team linked to Westbrook – is that Westbrook wouldn't have to play a single minute for the team he's traded. If Orlando simply wanted to snag the Lakers' 2027 first-round draft pick, which figures to be a valuable one based on L.A.'s current trajectory, they could do the trade above and then come to a buyout agreement with Westbrook, who is on an expiring $47 million contract.
It all comes down to just how bad the Lakers want Westbrook out of town, though. If it wasn't for pressure being applied by James for this upcoming season, the Lakers could buyout Westbrook themselves and avoid losing any draft picks. But if they're willing to trade draft capital to get off of Westbrook's contract now, the Magic should at least pick up the phone.
You can follow Dalton Trigg on Twitter at @dalton_trigg
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