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#pounditWednesday, August 10, 2022

1 team reportedly has legitimate interest in Russell Westbrook trade

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

One opposing team could be arriving with a halo and a harp to save the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported this week that the Charlotte Hornets have “real” interest in trading for embattled Lakers star Russell Westbrook. O’Connor notes that Charlotte has some big potential deals upcoming for Miles Bridges and LaMelo Ball. That means it may be smart for them to clear out longer-term salary by making a move for the former MVP Westbrook, who is on an expiring contract.

The Hornets, who went 43-39 this year, appear to be at a bit of a crossroads, especially after Kenny Atkinson pulled out of an agreement to become their next head coach. They have some big contracts to match in Gordon Hayward (owed $30.1 million next season) and Terry Rozier (owed $21.5 million). But the greater question is if it is worth it for Charlotte to take on Westbrook and essentially punt a year in exchange for longer-term flexibility (knowing that Westbrook’s presence could slow the 20-year-old Ball’s development for a year as well).

As for the Lakers, they seem to be comfortable with the idea of running it back with Westbrook, who is owed $47 million next season. But even if a Westbrook trade does materialize, the Lakers may still have to make a significant concession.

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