Recently, the ESPN Trade Machine made a far-fetched prediction: Russell Westbrook gets traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, and in return, the Oklahoma City Thunder receive the trio of Nick Young, D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle. The ESPN Trade Machine looks at player value and salary before approving of a trade. You can try it here.
Westbrook has forever been linked with Lakers. He played university ball for UCLA, was born and bred in Long Beach, California, and continues to call L.A. his home.
To replace Kobe Bryant?
With Kobe Bryant’s celebrated career coming to a close, Westbrook would be the ideal Box Office replacement in Los Angeles. The Lakers have always had at least one superstar in their ranks. Could Westbrook be the guy to fill the void?
Last year, Kobe revealed his intention to recruit Westbrook as his long-term replacement. “That’s my guy. That’s my guy. That’s my guy,” Westbrook said at the time. “Definitely Kobe is a good friend of mine and somebody that being in LA I was able to watch and see become a Hall of Famer and one of the best players to play the game. It’s an honor to be able to see somebody like that to be able to have your back and support you.”
What’s more? L.A. native Snoop Dogg has been trying to recruit Westbrook for years (see Instagram picture below).
Remember, Westbrook is contracted with the Thunder until 2017. If the superstar point guard indicates to Sam Presti, the Thunder GM, that he intends to leave, there’s a good chance of the trade going through. Obviously, the Thunder would want something substantial in return.
The question is: Will the Thunder benefit from two unproven lottery picks like Russell and Randle? Both players are still finding their feet in the NBA while Westbrook is an established superstar. If Russell and Randle start performing to potential, the Lakers would also heighten their chances of trading for Demarcus Cousins, the embattled Sacramento Kings center.