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#pounditThursday, December 8, 2022

Report: 2 teams viewed as most likely suitors for Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook warms up

Oct 6, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook prior to the preseason game against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have been operating as if Russell Westbrook will remain with the team next season, but that does not mean they have closed the door on trading the star point guard. If they do go that route, there are reportedly two teams to keep an eye on.

Michael Scotto and Jovan Buha of HoopsHype discussed the Westbrook situation during their latest podcast. Buha said he has been told that the Utah Jazz and Indiana Pacers are the most likely suitors for Westbrook, with the former seeming like a better bet.

The main obstacle in the Lakers’ trade talks centered around Westbrook is that they do not want to give up their two future unprotected first-round picks. Most teams have asked for both picks in exchange for taking on Westbrook’s $47 million contract.

Still, there may be a path to a deal. Buha said he was told by sources that the Lakers could get more aggressive in trying to trade Westbrook before training camp begins. One scenario where they might be persuaded to give up their two first-round picks is if they land Buddy Hield and Myles Turner.

The Lakers reportedly have a plan in place for if they are unable to trade Westbrook. In the meantime, however, they are clearly still exploring ways to move on from the 33-year-old.

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