The Los Angeles Lakers thought they acquired their point guard of the future in Russell Westbrook last summer. The one-time MVP has a close relationship with LeBron James and Anthony Davis and averaged 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and 11.7 assists for the Washington Wizards in 2020-21.
However, Westbrook has been a poor fit for the Lakers since he can’t shoot. Although the UCLA product is averaging 18.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.2 assists this season, he leads the NBA in turnovers and is shooting a woeful 29.6% from beyond the arc and 66.6% from the free-throw line.
The Lakers need a new point guard next season, someone who can space the floor with perimeter shooting, and SI’s Ben Stinar believes Los Angeles should trade for New York Knicks guard Kemba Walker.
“The Lakers have had a miserable season considering the star power on their roster. They might not even make the playoffs, and clearly changes need to be made. Walker may not be the answer, but he would be very good addition at a relatively low price salary wise, and they could probably figure out a trade with the Knicks that makes sense for both sides,” Stinar wrote.
“The Lakers do not have much to give in terms of assets, but the Knicks also won’t be looking for much in return either. The Lakers are stuck right now in terms of the salary cap, and they have to look at every possibility if they want to make the most out of LeBron James’ final seasons in the NBA.”
Walker appeared in 37 games for the Knicks this season. He averaged 11.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists, mediocre numbers. However, he’s always been a good 3-point shooter, a quality the Lakers need around LeBron and Davis.
Walker Shot 36.7% from Beyond the Arc
Walker shot 36.7% from beyond the arc with the Knicks this season. He made 73 3-pointers before New York decided it was best for him to sit out the season. Westbrook has made 74 shots from deep, but he’s played in 73 games compared to Walker’s 37.
Walker is no longer the superstar he was with the Charlotte Hornets. However, he can still shoot jumpers, a skill Westbrook doesn’t possess. Since Walker and Westbrook will both be on expiring contracts this summer, the Knicks and Lakers could possibly work out a trade involving the two veterans.
According to ESPN’s trade machine, a trade sending Westbrook and Talen Horton-Tucker to the Knicks in exchange for Walker, Derrick Rose, Evan Fournier and Alec Burks would work. However, that would be a pretty lopsided trade for the Lakers.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Knicks may not be interested in Westbrook. So if the Lakers want Walker, they will have to send other players to the Big Apple.
Knicks May Not Want Westbrook
Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report told Marc Stein on his podcast that the Knicks would have no interest in acquiring Westbrook this summer. The future Hall of Famer is set to make $47,063,478 next season if he picks up his 2022-23 player option, which he will.
If the Lakers don’t trade LeBron and/or Davis this summer, they need to acquire more shooters around their two stars. Walker is a career 36.0% shooter from beyond the arc. He would be a much better fit next to LBJ and AD than Westbrook has been this season since he’s a threat to score from the outside.
It will be fascinating to see what moves the Lakers make this summer after having such a terrible 2021-22 campaign.