Russell Westbrook's first season as a Laker hasn't gone as well as he or anyone in Los Angeles hoped it would when they traded three rotation players and a first-round pick for the nine-time All-Star.
The Lakers have hovered around .500 for the last four months, and Westbrook was already benched on one occasion this season. With LeBron James in his age-37 season, the clock is ticking for the Lakers to maximize their contention window with James and Anthony Davis.
The only problem is that with Westbrook's massive $44.1 million salary this year and $47 million figure next season, it'll be hard for LA to upgrade its roster. Not only that but if they decide they want to move Westbrook, there aren't a ton of viable trade partners out there willing to pay nearly $90 million for a point guard approaching his mid-30s.
None of the landing spots here are going to be ideal for Westbrook, so the focus will be on if a team has the ability and/or desire to acquire his contract. The Rockets, who traded Westbrook for John Wall and a first-round pick a season ago, is reportedly interested in doing a similar swap of point guards with a draft pick coming back their way.
Wall and Westbrook have identical contracts, so the Rockets could simply take Westbrook in, let him play a bit to recoup some value and potentially flip him next season if there's a team that wants to acquire his services. For the Lakers, Wall isn't going to move the needle much, but it might be worth just trying something different.
Trade machine suggestion: John Wall for Westbrook and LAL's 2027 1st-rd pick
Oklahoma City Thunder
Oklahoma City has been a safe haven for the league's cast-off veterans and they have the cap flexibility to take him on without having to match his large salary figure. All the Lakers would have to do is send draft picks to OKC as an incentive to complete a deal.
Now, the Thunder already have a talented young backcourt with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey, so they may not be as willing to add another ball-dominant guard to that mix as they were when they acquired Chris Paul a few years ago. Still, the Thunder are one of a few teams who could realistically take Westbrook in.
Trade machine suggestion: Westbrook, Talen Horton-Tucker, LAL's 2027 1st for Derrick Favors, Kenrich Williams
Los Angeles Clippers
This is an absolute long shot that probably has no chance of happening, but that's how thin the Westbrook trade market could look like. The Clippers, once full strength, could use a guard to initiate the offense and set up Paul George and Kawhi Leonard in ways Eric Bledsoe and Reggie Jackson simply can't.
In that kind of role, Westbrook could provide some value to the Clippers. However, convincing the Clippers into helping the Lakers by taking Westbrook off their hands might be enough to nix any potential deal altogether.
Trade machine suggestion: Westbrook and LAL's 2027 1st for Eric Bledsoe, Luke Kennard and Serge Ibaka