Russell Westbrook's season with the Los Angeles Lakers has come to an end. In all likelihood, it will be his only season with the Lakers, despite the fact that he has an outrageous salary due next season. This is the NBA and there is always a team willing to take on a bad contract for some reason. So after spending the first 11 seasons of his NBA career with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Russell Westbrook should be on his fifth team in five seasons next year.
So who is desperate enough to pay Russell Westbrook $47 million?
On Marc Stein's Substack, he recently said that the Michael Jordan might be interested.
"While Hornets owner Michael Jordan has long ranked as a Westbrook admirer, it's not yet clear if that would give such a trade concept more life. The scenario has nonetheless been mentioned by multiple rival teams in recent weeks and, if nothing else, illustrates the likelihood that the Lakers would largely be limited to trades in which they're the team taking on more long-term money if they want to move off Westbrook immediately."
The Hornets won 43 games this season, their most since 2016. Lonzo Ball and Terry Rozier are locked up longterm. And yet, GM Michael Jordan, I guess?
Another Eastern Conference team that doesn't seem like they should want Westbrook, but here's what Shams Charania had to say today. Via The Athletic:
The Indiana Pacers could emerge as a potential suitor for Westbrook, rival executives believe, but any trade involving the former NBA MVP will be complicated due to his massive salary and the Lakers’ next available first-round draft pick being in 2027, which the franchise will prioritize and thus be prudent in deciding the best route with Westbrook. Two other routes for Westbrook could be keeping him or discussing a contract buyout.
The Pacers are building around Tyrese Haliburton, but rival teams expect them to be open to trade conversations around Malcolm Brogdon and Buddy Hield this offseason. Hield has two years and $40.4 million remaining on his deal while Brogdon has three years and nearly $68 million. If Indiana wants to shed future salary, could it view the Lakers and Westbrook’s expiring deal as a match?
That sounds absolutely insane for the Pacers to consider, but if Shams says it then it must be so.
John Wall is the perfect one-for-one target for the Lakers. He's a big name making an almost identitical $47 million next season in the final year of his deal. Will he make the Lakers better? Probably not. He's a career 32 percent three-point shooter and he didn't even put on a jersey this season. But none of that matters because he's a different person! Sure, Westbrook played more games for the Lakers this year than Wall has played in the last four seasons combined, but in the words of Tobias Funke...
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder would probably have to bring a third or fourth team in here to somehow make this work, but you know why they might pay Russell Westbrook to come home for one year on his absurd deal? That tasty Lakers 2027 first-round pick. It's all the Lakers have to offer and wouldn't you know it, the Thunder currently only own their own first rounder in the '27 Draft. You know Sam Presti doesn't like that one bit.