While the Lakers may be locked-in with their current roster for the rest of the season, the summer will bring a whole new wave of possibilities for the 17x Champions.
Russell Westbrook, who has struggled to fit since the start, is expected to be among the names Rob Pelinka will look to move.
The former MVP's value remains astonishingly low, no doubt, but there is hope that L.A. will find a suitable trade before next season. Former NBA exec John Hollinger even floated a way that the Lakers could orchestrate Westbrook's return to the Thunder for a haul of valuable assets.
“One tantalizing possibility, for instance, would be to trade Derrick Favors and another small contract to the Lakers for Westbrook and an unprotected Laker first in 2027, a deal which would generate a ginormous Laker trade exception to bring in other talent via their newly available 2029 first,” Hollinger wrote. “They could also swallow Tobias Harris in one gulp (although Philly is out of picks to include) or Davis Bertans or some other desperately unwanted contract.”
Oklahoma City is one of the few places that would welcome Russ with open arms. After the departure of Kevin Durant, Russ famously stuck around to keep the team relevant and he went on to win an MVP in 2017.
To this day, Thunder fans revere the star guard for his loyalty and all the amazing things he did while he was wearing their jersey.
Going back there now, after all these years, would be a crazy story -- and it could be all that Westbrook needs to recover his value as a player.
Regardless of where Westbrook ends up, the Lakers have to do whatever they can to make a trade this summer. At 18-39 on the season, it's pretty clear that their current collection of talent is not enough to get the job done.