The Los Angeles Lakers were a subpar team this season. Even though many thought that they would be a championship-contending squad at the start of the season, they missed out on the playoffs, finishing the year with a 33-49 record.
A good number of analysts have claimed that point guard Russell Westbrook was one of the team's biggest issues. He is generally considered a poor defender, and it's clear that he is no longer a superstar.
Perhaps the best move for the Los Angeles Lakers would be to move him. A hypothetical trade scenario could feature Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton, who will be a restricted free agent this offseason and has been linked to the Lakers recently. Here is the theoretical deal framework.
Los Angeles Lakers Receive: Collin Sexton, Cedi Osman, Moses Brown
Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: Russell Westbrook, A Future First-Round Pick
Los Angeles Lakers Get A Good Young Scorer And Some Solid Young Pieces
Collin Sexton would obviously be the centerpiece of this deal for the Los Angeles Lakers. Collin Sexton was injured for the majority of this season, but when healthy, he is an elite three-level scorer as a guard. Collin Sexton is a fantastic jump-shooter, but he can also use his speed to get to the rim for a crafty finish. There is no doubt that he'd be the perfect third option next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and would add a proven shot-creator to the team. Collin Sexton's deal would be done via sign and trade. Collin Sexton averaged 24.3 PPG, 3.1 RPG, and 4.4 APG during his last healthy season in 2020-21.
The rest of this trade package has two young players in Cedi Osman and Moses Brown. Both are players that could potentially be good role players on the squad and give the Lakers some much-needed youth and athleticism.
Cedi Osman has developed into a solid shooter during his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers, averaging 10.7 PPG on 35.7% from the 3PT range. He would be a good floor spacer for the Lakers, and there's no doubt that the Lakers could use a young shooter that would fit well next to their stars. Moses Brown is an athletic big man that averaged 6.4 PPG and 5.3 RPG with the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, and he would be a good option as a backup big man.
Overall, this trade would allow the Los Angeles Lakers to move Russell Westbrook's expiring contract and get some good young players in return. While losing their future first-round pick will hurt, the Los Angeles Lakers will get an elite young guard in Collin Sexton, who can contribute now and help them win a championship.
Cleveland Cavaliers Get An Experienced Veteran And A Valuable Pick
For the Cleveland Cavaliers, this trade is mostly about adding a point guard with some veteran experience in Russell Westbrook, while also getting a valuable pick in return for Collin Sexton.
The Los Angeles Lakers' future pick would likely be considered valuable by other teams due to their situation. Their roster this season was mostly veterans, and LeBron James won't be getting any younger. Their future first-round pick would likely be in the lottery. The Cleveland Cavaliers would potentially be a playoff team that also has a lottery pick, which is a good position to be in.
Russell Westbrook as a player may not have fit on the Los Angeles Lakers, but perhaps he could be a solid 6th man for the Cleveland Cavaliers, playing high minutes as a backup behind All-Star point guard Darius Garland. Russell Westbrook's defining traits are his athleticism and his effort on the basketball court, and he would be an amazing spark plug coming off the bench. Russell Westbrook would likely with the Sixth Man of the Year award if he bought into that role.
Overall, this trade could help the Cavaliers become a playoff team in the now, and potentially add a valuable prospect in a few years. They already have two All-Stars and promising players on their roster, and another proven veteran could be what they need to take the next step.