After one disastrous season, the Los Angeles Lakers appear ready to move on from former MVP Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook’s fit with the franchise was questionable from the moment they traded for him during the offseason, and that issue never resolved itself as the season progressed. With the Lakers now set to miss the postseason, moving Westbrook seems to be their top priority this offseason, given that he accepts his $ 47 million player option, which is inevitable.
Opposing franchises will not be banging down LA’s door to try and acquire Westbrook, but there have been some rumblings in the rumor mill that other teams could be interested. If the Lakers are able to trade Westbrook in the offseason, here are three players they should attempt to get in return.
3 players the Los Angeles Lakers must target in a Russell Westbrook trade: Terry Rozier
One team that could reportedly express interest in trading for Westbrook is the Charlotte Hornets. Per NBA veteran insider Marc Stein (subscription required)the Hornets have been mentioned as a team to watch on the Westbrook trade front.
Although there are several reasons why Charlotte’s rumored interest in Westbrook is questionable, the Lakers should jump at the chance to move the guard to the Hornets if there is any chance they can get Terry Rozier in return.
On impact, Rozier would be a much better fit than Westbrook in LA’s starting five, primarily due to his three-point shooting. Westbrook never found his footing in LA partially because of his inability to shoot the long ball, as he shot 29.8 percent from long range on the season.
Per NBA.com/stats, that was the fourth-worst percentage in the entire association among players that attempted a minimum of 250 three-pointers this season. Rozier was a far better shooter this season, as he buried 37.4 percent of his threes on 8.1 attempts per game. The Lakers need to surround LeBron James and Anthony Davis with more shooting, and Rozier would be a much better fit than Westbrook.
Looking closer, a significant portion of Rozier’s three-point success this year came on catch-and-shoot tries. Rozier knocked down 155 catch-and-shoot triples this year, the seventh-most in the entire NBA, which should be desirable for the Lakers.
Los Angeles ranked bottom-10 in the association in catch-and-shoot three-pointers this season with 698 in total, and Westbrook’s lackluster shooting was a significant reason for that. Rozier could instantly help this Lakers team due to his prolific outside shooting, and he would be a much better fit at the point guard position. If there is any chance LA is able to get Rozier, they must pounce on the opportunity.