Russell Westbrook. That's probably the first name you thought of when you clicked on this story. For the sake of full disclosure, Russell Westbrook will be included in this article. However, the declining point guard will also be the most difficult player to trade this offseason. The Los Angeles Lakers would need to design the perfect trade package in order to get a deal done. There is no question that LA needs to make some changes during the offseason.
Here are 3 players Los Angeles needs to trade during the 2022 NBA offseason.
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3 players Lakers must trade in 2022 NBA offseason
The Lakers have a surprising amount of depth at the shooting guard position. Obviously, free agency needs to be considered. Malik Monk is set to hit free agency this offseason. However, letting a 24-year old with potential walk while receiving nothing in return seems like a fool's errand. The Lakers should attempt to re-sign Monk.
And then they should deal him away.
He isn't a necessity on the team. But adding him to a potential Russell Westbrook deal could be beneficial. Or including him in a different trade is plausible as well. There should be interest in Monk given his age and former prospect pedigree.
Talen Horton-Tucker has been involved in far too many trade rumors at just age 21. The first thing you find when you google his name are a plethora of different trade proposals and rumors. This is due to the fact that he possesses a high ceiling and comes at relatively cheap cost from a contractual standpoint.
There also isn't a clear fit for him in LA.
No Lakers player has been linked more to Russell Westbrook than Horton-Tucker as well. In fact, Horton-Tucker is the X-Factor when it comes to dealing Westbrook. If a team truly wants him, they may need to also take on Westbrook and his massive contract.
The Lakers need to capitalize on his stock and trade him while they can. Talen Horton-Tucker could be the ticket for a Lakers turnaround next season. His trade value is vital to the team's future.
Shocking, right? But let's breakdown why the Lakers should be aggressive on the trade front as soon as possible.
There were rumors throughout the 2021-2022 season up until the trade deadline about a Russell Westbrook deal. Obviously, nothing came to fruition.
But if Los Angeles can trade Westbrook early this summer, that would give them an ample amount of time to scour the free agent market and add younger depth on the roster.
This is where it all ties together. Adding Monk and/or Horton-Tucker to a Russell-Westbrook-led package will be the key to getting a deal done. Los Angeles will likely need to take on a loaded contract as well, but Westbrook needs to go.
Can Westbrook still be a valuable player in the NBA? Yes.
But a separation would be in both the Lakers and Westbrook's best interest at this point. They both need a fresh start following their disastrous 2021-2022 NBA season.
The Lakers have work to do this summer. They cannot afford a repeat of last season. Any team that features both LeBron James and Anthony Davis is going to have the chance to win. However, it remains to be seen if LA's front office can add the necessary pieces around the star-studded duo.