What's the minimum Spurs should accept for Russell Westbrook trade?

Los Angeles Lakers  v San Antonio Spurs
Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

In what has been a crazy NBA offseason so far, the San Antonio Spurs have been connected to a lot of action. They traded star Dejounte Murray, extended Keldon Johnson, drafted quite well, and have been attached to Deandre Ayton and Myles Turner, and it looks like Josh Richardson, Doug McDermott, and Jakob Poeltl are all on the trade block.

One of the biggest talking points this offseason is the Lakers’ quest to find a serviceable point guard.Russell Westbrook is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, sure, and I hold the minority opinion by loving his game and style, but I digress. Spurs fans do not want him on the roster -- unless, of course, a decent return also came with him.

Westbrook is owed $47 million next season before he hits free agency, and the Spurs are one of the few teams that could help the Lakers out and take him. 

So what would that return look like? Well, there are several things to consider. First, do we, as a fanbase, really want to help the Lakers out? Hell no! So Los Angeles would need to heavily incentivize the Spurs to be charitable. Second, will the Spurs buy Westbrook out or allow him to play out his contract in the Silver and Black? This is a bit more complex because he has become a laughingstock in the league.

That being said, over the last six seasons, he has averaged decimal points away from a triple-double. For four of those six, he averaged one outright, which, despite poor highlights, is one of the most amazing feats in NBA history, and it has been swept under the rug recently. With no one quite at his level on the roster, he could return to form, at least on the stat sheet, and be flipped at the deadline for additional assets.

What should the return for taking on Westbrook look like?

If the Spurs have that optimistic mentality, then the Lakers would only have to attach one pick to the trade in my opinion. If the Spurs have no faith or want to buy him out, then at least one unprotected pick has to be sent over, maybe two, or at least a solid young player like Kendrick Nunn or Talen Horton-Tucker -- someone who could produce and fit San Antonio’s timeline but won’t help LA’s fruitless aspirations of a title. 

Maybe the Lakers want more from the Spurs than just clearing some cap space. The Lakers do not have a true center aside from Thomas Bryant, so maybe they could be open to taking Jakob Poeltl for an additional pick. That means the Spurs could get two picks, a solid young player, and only have to deal with Westbrook for a single season at most.

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Who knows? Maybe Philadelphia, Brooklyn, or another contender would want to take him if he lights it up in the first half of the season. The return could be a good one, but is it worth it to help the Lakers stay relevant? Perish the thought! It’s up to the front office, but I don’t see a way the Spurs lose if they take any of the options I laid out.