The trade market for Russell Westbrook has been dry for ages now, with the Indiana Pacers being the only team to show any interest in Westbrook. The Pacers need 2 first-round picks in order to accommodate Russ's $47 million dollar contract that expires next season and will send quality role-players in Myles Turner and Buddy Hield to boost the Lakers' depth.
With no team wanting to accept Russ without picks, it seems the Lakers will have to part with their 2 future picks in order to get rid of Russ this season. With LeBron James, who is turning 38 next season, the Lakers can't afford to throw away next season by forcing Russ into the rotation when it clearly didn't work.
Bleacher Report has suggested that the Dallas Mavericks could be a possible trade partner for the Lakers to explore. Due to Dallas going over the salary cap on an average roster, acquiring Westbrook and a few picks allows them to replenish their asset pool and build to maximize Luka Doncic, who is entering the first year of his rookie extension next season.
Los Angeles Lakers Receive: SG Tim Hardaway Jr., PF Davis Bertans, SF Reggie Bullock
Dallas Mavericks Receive: PG Russell Westbrook, SG Austin Reaves, 2027 and 2029 first-round picks (unprotected) [h/t Bleacher Report]
This would be a confusing deal for both teams. The Lakers will mortgage 2 future picks for long-term contracts in Hardaway Jr. and Davis Bertans, who aren't exactly young players in the league. Bertans is on one of the worst contracts in the league, so this could further hamstring their cap in the future. THJ is also on a long-term contract that he signed last offseason. It's been reported that the Mavs had said 'hell no' when asked about acquiring Russ.
Reggie Bullock would be a terrific addition for the Lakers based on how he played in the 2022 playoffs. He and THJ can be extremely valuable floor spacers for Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Bertans is streaky but got his contract based on being a high-volume three-point sniper.
Bullock was extremely valuable to Jason Kidd and the Mavericks last season, so it would be odd for them to trade him away and take a step back with Westbrook and Austin Reaves. The Mavs can build from their WCF run around a generational star this season, but losing 3 players for Russ and Reaves would be a massive blow to their win-now prospects.
What makes it better is that the Mavs can replenish their draft pool, with the team still paying the price of the trade to acquire Kristaps Porzingis from New York in 2019. Westbrook joining for a season and then becoming a free agent gives Dallas massive cap room in the future and the team would come under the salary tax this season.
The Mavs front office will have to decide whether they prioritize their long-term future with Luka or if they want to continue pushing for deep playoff runs with their proven roster. The Lakers may be hesitant to give up both their picks, but this package brings them a lot of shooting depth that they desperately need. Bullock being a defensive presence also will massively aid the team.