The potential bidding war for future assets from the Los Angeles Lakers appears to be growing. While the San Antonio Spurs are reportedly being patient with their cap space for a potential three-team deal, other teams have entered the fray.
In addition to Russell Westbrook, there are still several big names thought to be in the market for a new home for the 2022-23 NBA season, including Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and Donovan Mitchell. Previously, we've discussed a rumored deal that would have Irving and Westbrook, with the Spurs using their expansive cap space to play facilitator.
On such an occasion, the Spurs would want considerable draft capital to make their role in the trade worthwhile. It's expected that any Westbrook trade could take a few more weeks or months to come to fruition, but that's a gamble San Antonio is reportedly willing to take. In any scenario, it's expected that Westbrook would be bought out and not see the floor at all for the Spurs.
Other NBA teams enter the mix for Russell Westbrook and assets
According to a Monday morning column (subscription required) from Shams Charania, at least three other teams have been in talks with the Los Angeles Lakers for Westbrook and draft capital. While he specifically names the Utah Jazz, Indiana Pacers, and New York Knicks, his phrasing that they're "among the teams" in talks suggests there could be even more.
From what I've gathered, details surrounding a specific trade conversation have only come from the Pacers. The Athletic reported (subscription required) that the Lakers offered Westbrook, a 2027 first-round draft pick, and two future second-round picks for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield, but the deal was rejected.
Per Bob Kravitz of The Athletic, if the Lakers included their first-round pick in 2029 in such a deal, that could revitalize talks.
It's becoming clear that teams aren't going to take on Westbrook if the Lakers don't make it worth their while, which means they'll have to further handicap their already meager future draft assets. If all teams involved keep their price respectable, that would bode well for whichever team ultimately wins the sweepstakes for what could be some valuable picks from Los Angeles.
As it stands, the Indiana Pacers have $29.6 million in cap space while the San Antonio Spurs have $26.9 million, according to Keith Smith of Spotrac. We may end up seeing a bidding war in the coming weeks to see which team can come away with more building blocks for their future.