The Detroit Pistons are suddenly a trendy trade destination for Russell Westbrook of the Los Angeles Lakers after an anonymous NBA executive floated them as a possibility.
I broke down the possible Westbrook trade here, but the idea is that a rebuilding team takes on his monstrous salary for one year in exchange for a bunch of mediocre players. Why do it? To reap a pick of course, though many fans have expressed that they wouldn’t want to do it unless there were multiple first-round picks in involved.
I can’t see the Lakers giving up two picks just to get rid of a guy, so let’s assume that the payoff would be the Detroit Pistons getting the Lakers’ unprotected 2027 first-round pick.
Making a trade like this would essentially be waiving the white flag for next season, as it would deplete the little veteran depth the Pistons have and add a guy who is a not a great fit and could be bought out anyway, leaving Detroit with the youngest roster in the NBA.
So the essential question for a possible Westbrook trade is whether another season of guaranteed losing is worth a pick five years from now. The answer is yes, and no.