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The Los Angeles Lakers could potentially trade Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets so that Houston could buy out the rest of his contract.
According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Rockets would consider trading for Westbrook in order to gain a future 2027 first-round pick from the Lakers. Then, the Rockets would presumably buy out the rest of his contract.
I included a line in there about how the Rockets have zero interest in Westbrook actually playing for them again, but I didn’t properly expound on the buyout that would be required after such a trade. Westbrook is owed $47 million next season. If the Lakers actually reached the point that they were willing to send their 2027 first-round pick to the Rockets to convince them to ship out John Wall and take Westbrook back, it is expected that Westbrook and Houston would swiftly enter buyout talks.
The Houston Rockets could trade for Russell Westbrook and buy out the rest of his contract
Stein continues to explain why the Rockets would trade for Westbrook and give away Wall, who has “balked at the limited role Houston offered him.”
Buyout discussions with a player owed more than $50 million are never easy, but it is believed Houston would happily cope with that challenge if it could get the future first-rounder from the Lakers. Reason being: The Rockets, remember, are already facing the same conundrum. Wall is owed $47.4 million next season and hasn’t logged one minute this season after he balked at the limited role Houston offered him.
Given that Wall is realistically no easier for the Rockets to trade than Westbrook is for the Lakers, Houston figures to face the same daunting buyout issues in trying to remove Wall from its roster in the offseason — with or without a Russ reunion.
As covered Friday, I don’t think that the Lakers are prepared to give up their 2027 first just to swap Westbrook for Wall before the Feb. 10 trade buzzer without giving Russ at least one full season in Lakerland to try to make the experiment work. Yet I also don’t see the Rockets letting buyout fears stand in their way should the Lakers surprise us and abruptly make their best trade asset available.
Stein wholly explains the thought process behind what could seem like a ludicrous trade on the surface. In reality, the Lakers and Rockets are likely contemplating what they can do with what has proven to be costly, unsuccessful gambles in Russell Westbrook and John Wall.