The Detroit Pistons have had a relatively quiet offseason after they were a part of several moves around the 2022 NBA Draft.
The Pistons added a trio of veterans in a salary dump move by the Knicks, who sent Nerlens Noel, Alec Burks and Kemba Walker into Detroit’s cap space, players who would seem to help balance a very young roster.
But that could be about to change according to one Eastern Conference executive, who spoke with Heavy.com and named the Pistons as a possible landing spot for Russell Westbrook of the Lakers, though this was all speculation.
It’s no secret that the Lakers want to move Westbrook, who was not a great fit with LeBron James and Anthony Davis even though he played 78 games and averaged over 18 points per game. He’s due $47 million in the final year of his deal and the Lakers would rather spread that money around to add more depth to a top-heavy roster.
My first instinct about trading for Russell Westbrook is to scream “NOOOOOOOOOOO!” and run out of the room. But depending on the Pistons’ goals for next season, and the possible payoff, it’s an idea worth exploring.
Detroit Pistons: Trading for Russell Westbrook
Detroit would have to send a package of players to the Lakers and would undoubtedly want a future unprotected first-round pick to take on Westbrook’s contract, which is one of the costliest in the league.
Here is one possibility:
In this trade, the Pistons send four veteran players in exchange for Westbrook and a future 1st-round pick from the Lakers.
From the Lakers’ perspective, a deal like this makes sense, as Noel is a good fit with Davis and Olynyk and Burks would give them more depth and shooting around their two superstars.
Even Kemba Walker is the type of player the LeBron-era Lakers have gone after in the past, a veteran who knows how to win and will accept a lesser role to chase a ring. The Pistons have been dragging their heels on a buyout for Walker, possibly because they want to use his contract in a trade.
The question is whether the Lakers want to get rid of Westbrook badly enough that they would give up an asset to do it, as that pick could be a high one depending on how things shake out over the next few seasons. The Lakers will likely be rebuilding themselves by that point, but their ability to draw free agents has always made the future something they don’t have to worry about.
Their window is right now, so this makes sense for them, but what about the Pistons, would they consider this type of trade?