One didn't have to be a basketball savant to wonder how well would Russell Westbrook fit with the Los Angeles Lakers. Clearly, stacking talent isn't enough to win in today's NBA, as chemistry and having solid role players could get you further.
Westbrook's first year back home was a disaster. Local fans sent him death threats and booed him every time he touched the rock. He went back and Forth with some fans, with the media, and even with his coach.
The Lakers' demise wasn't Westbrook's fault, or at least not entirely, but none of that matters now. The team seems ready to move on from him and truth be told, it would be best for both parties. Here, we discuss the only 4 realistic landing spots for him.
NBA Rumors: 4 Realistic Landing Spots For Russell Westbrook
4. Charlotte Hornets
Trade: Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier for Russell Westbrook.
Michael Jordan is a big fan of Russell Westbrook and making questionable decisions, so trading for him would only be natural. Also, they desperately want to get rid of Gordon Hayward's contract, even if that means also giving up Terry Rozier in the process.
Rozier would be a better fit for the Lakers, without a doubt. Rob Pelinka could also explore a move for Kelly Oubre Jr. or even P.J. Washington, who regressed last season and is due for an extenSIon. This trade would only make the Charlotte Hornets worse, but that's what bad teams usually do.
3. Indiana Pacers
Trade: Malcolm Brogdon, Buddy Hield for Russell Westbrook, Kendrick Nunn, and/or Talen Horton-Tucker.
The Indiana Pacers have emerged as a dark horse destination for Westbrook, for reasons we don't fully understand. Maybe they're way too high on Talen Horton-Tucker, maybe they just want the expiring salary on their books.
Whatever the case, the Lakers could finally land Buddy Hield while also getting a solid playmaker and defender in Malcolm Brogdon. This would mean losing Malik Monk and hoping Brogdon stays healthy after years of multiple injuries.
2. Houston Rockets
Trade: John Wall, Eric Gordon, Christian Wood, and David Nwaba for Russell Westbrook, 2027 First-Round Pick, 2029 First-Round Pick.
The Houston Rockets were interested in swapping Westbrook for John Wall but the Lakers were reluctant to give up picks in that transaction. That killed the deal at the time, but may no longer be a deal-breaker in the offseason.
Lakers could revamp their entire roster by adding a reliable scoring big man in Christian Wood, a veteran shooter in Eric Gordon, and a solid defender in David Nwaba. And if Wall is actually able to play, then that's a huge plus. The Rockets would land picks and offload salary.
1. Oklahoma City Thunder
Trade: Mike Muscala, Derrick Favors for Russell Westbrook, 2027 First-Round Pick, 2029 First-Round Pick.
Westbrook could go full circle and back where it all started. Also, he'd be back with the only fanbase who has truly appreciated him and liked him. He's still a beloved member of the Oklahoma City community and arguably the greatest player in Thunder history.
The Lakers wouldn't get much better by adding Mike Muscala and Derrick Favors, we can all agree to that. But they'd get a Traded Player Exception worth $31 million to make more trades while also getting them under the luxury tax threshold. Oh, and Sam Presti would get more picks!