2022 NBA Futures: Where Will the Los Angeles Lakers Trade Russell Westbrook?

Updated June 30, 2022
Updated June 30, 2022By Dan Favale
Russell Westbrook trade rumors are heating up, but where might he go if the Lakers deal him?

Russell Westbrook trade rumors have been relentless since the start of the offseason. Speculation has only picked up since he exercised his $47-plus million player option for next season, and the best betting sites for the NBA have taken the opportunity to drop odds on where he’ll land next.

And without further delay, here are those odds on where the Lakers will trade Russell Westbrook, courtesy of Bovada:

Please note these NBA betting odds are accurate entering Thursday, June 30. Keep double-checking all basketball betting lines like this until you actually submit your wager. Also please note that your bet will only pay out should you select the correct team to which Westbrook gets dealt. However, on the bright side, your bet should be refunded if the Lakers end up holding onto him, since they are not among the squads you’re choosing from.

Everyone knows the Los Angeles Lakers don’t want Westbrook. They also know Westbrook is a net-negative asset these days. His salary is too huge, and he doesn’t work well off the ball. Complicated still, the Lakers don’t have the sweeteners necessary to compensate a team to take on Westbrook’s money. Los Angeles cannot convey a first-round pick until 2027, and most NBA front office regimes don’t think that far in advance given their relative lack of job security.

More recent rumors, meanwhile, insist the Lakers won’t include a first-round pick even if they find a trade partner. We’re not buying that. They have an obligation to maximize the window around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. A Russell Westbrook trade is absolutely on the table. And we’ve got our best NBA bets for where he makes the most sense.

But first, if you haven’t found a place to bet on the NBA just yet, please consider checking out our list of the best online sportsbooks. And for all you on-the-go sports fans, take a look at our reviews of the best mobile betting sites and apps.

Should the Oklahoma City Thunder Be Favorites to Land Russell Westbrook?

Our gut instincts tell us the Thunder are overvalued in Russell Westbrook trade scenarios.

No team that deals for Russ will do so with the intention of using him. It will be an asset grab and/or a way to get off longer-term contracts the organization doesn’t want. The Thunder don’t meet either form of criteria.

Oklahoma City has no bad contracts on their books, and they don’t need the Lakers’ distant first-round picks when they have more future firsts than anyone else in the NBA. Beyond that, matching salary to bring in Westbrook is almost impossible now that the Thunder’s cap space expired.

Still, Westbrook began his career in Oklahoma City. The nostalgic side of the franchise may decide to bring him back out of respect.

Oklahoma City ThunderTo trade for Russell Westbrook
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Better Bet to Trade for Russ: Charlotte Hornets or Indiana Pacers?

It’s pretty bizarre how high up the Hornets are on this list. Not only do they already have an up-and-coming stud floor general in LaMelo Ball, but trading for Westbrook doesn’t help them satisfy their primary goal of cutting money off their cap sheet.

Sure, over the long term, Westbrook can help the Hornets save some money. His $47.5 million salary comes off the books after this season. They could try flipping the two years and $63 total million Hayward is owed to the Lakers as compensation.

Is that enough of a big-picture cap slash to get the Hornets thinking? We’re not sure. But team governor Michael Jordan is known to pinch pennies, so if the Lakers are willing to take back more unwanted money (Terry Rozier) or include both their 2027 and 2029 firsts, perhaps something could happen.

And yet, the Pacers are a better bet in our eyes. They have cap space to absorb a chunk of Westbrook’s deal outright, and they also have a dicey contract of their own they can send out in Malcolm Brogdon’s three-year, $67.6 million deal.

Indiana PacersTo trade for Russell Westbrook
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Would the New York Knicks Consider Trading with the Lakers?

Though the Knicks are forever attracted to big names, no matter how far past their prime they may be, their current pursuit of Jalen Brunson makes a Westbrook acquisition untenable. Both players are point guards, and they’re too small to play together on defense.

Things get more interesting if the Knicks wind up whiffing on Brunson in free agency. They will, at that point, have cleared a bunch of cap space for nothing. While they could pivot to other players on the market, they could also try getting the Lakers to take on Julius Randle’s albatross (four years, $116 million) while sending back a first-round pick or two.

Going this route would not only arm the Knicks with a ton of cap space next summer, but additional first-round picks would beef up future trade offers for another star. Keep an eye on New York. They’re the sleeper in all this.

New York KnicksTo trade for Russell Westbrook
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Prediction: Where are the Lakers Most Likely to Trade Russell Westbrook?

We’re going with the Indiana Pacers.

Conventional wisdom dictates rival teams won’t take a 2027 first-round pick to swallow Westbrook’s salary in its entirety. But the Pacers are different. They can not only absorb most of it with cap space, but they’re trying to offload Brogdon’s contract as we speak. Stomaching Westbrook’s larger salary now would increase their flexibility later, since he comes off the books next summer.

On top of that, the Pacers have also made it clear they’re rebuilding, perhaps even starting from scratch. So they can, in theory, waive Westbrook once they get him without worrying whether that torpedoes their win-loss record. After all, they’re not built to win anyway.

Doing something so drastic would be out of character for the Pacers. But they’re among the only teams that can send back at least one player the Lakers would actually use without getting absolutely hosed in the process. Heck, depending on how desperate the Lakers are, the Pacers might even be able to extract both their 2027 and 2029 picks from the war chest.

Indiana PacersTo trade for Russell Westbrook
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Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all of your NBA betting:

About the Author

Dan Favale
Dan Favale

Dan is a versatile sports betting writer who can address a wide range of topics, from presidential elections to changes in federal and state sports betting legislation. He is also an NFL expert and regularly provides insightful picks and analysis for the league. With his extensive knowledge and experience, Dan is well-equipped to tackle any subject related to sports betting and keep his readers informed and up-to-date.

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