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A possible trade partner for the Los Angeles Lakers for Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook’s trade market has been dry for a long time, with the Indiana Pacers being the only team interested in him. The Pacers will send quality role players Myles Turner and Buddy Hield to the Lakers in exchange for two first-round picks to accommodate Russ’ $47 million contract, which expires next season. With no team willing to take Russ without compensation, it appears the Lakers will have to part with their two future picks to get rid of Russ this season. With LeBron James turning 38 next season, the Lakers cannot afford to waste next season by forcing Russ into the rotation when it is clear that it did not work. The Dallas Mavericks have been mentioned as a possible trade partner for the Lakers, according to Bleacher Report. Due to Dallas exceeding 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 will enter the first year of his rookie contract next season. Lakers of Los Angeles Obtain: SG PF Davis Bertans, SF Tim Hardaway Jr. Bullock, Reggie Mavericks of Dallas Receive: Russell Westbrook, Austin Reaves, and first-round picks in 2027 and 2029. (unprotected) [With thanks to Bleacher Report] This would be a perplexing transaction for both parties. Hardaway Jr. and Davis Bertans, both of whom are not exactly young players in the league, will be mortgaged for long-term contracts by the Lakers. Bertans is on one of the league’s worst contracts, so this could further limit their cap space in the future. THJ also has a long-term contract with the team, which he signed last offseason. When asked about acquiring Russ, the Mavericks reportedly said ‘hell no.’ Based on his performance in the 2022 playoffs, Reggie Bullock would be an excellent addition to the Lakers. He and THJ have the potential to be extremely useful floor spacers for Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Bertans is inconsistent, but he was signed because he is a high-volume three-point shooter. Bullock was extremely valuable to Jason Kidd and the Mavericks last season, so trading him away and taking a step back with Westbrook and Austin Reaves would be strange. The Mavericks can build on their WCF run this season with a generational star, but losing three players for Russ and Reaves would be a huge blow to their win-now prospects. What’s more, the Mavericks can replenish their draft pool while 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 provides Dallas with significant future cap space, and the team would be subject to the salary tax this season. The Mavericks front office must decide whether to prioritize their long-term future with Luka or continue to push for deep playoff runs with their proven roster. The Lakers may be hesitant to give up both of their picks, but this package provides them with much-needed shooting depth. Bullock’s defensive presence will also greatly benefit the team.