Following multiple trade rumors and speculations surrounding the Lakers and the Nets, a new team has emerged that could help the deal get done. The Spurs have the needed cap space to absorb Russell Westbrook's final year of his contract worth $47 million. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski explained how the three-team trade would come to fruition.
"A team like San Antonio could be a facilitator right now," Wojnarowski said, "in a Russell Westbrook-Kyrie Irving deal between the teams. They have the cap space. Now, you would have to incentivize them at a pretty high level.
"The willingness of the Lakers to incentivize a deal with multiple draft picks, I think that's still part of the reason that's a deal that hasn't gone anywhere yet."
With this proposed trade, the Lakers will get a chance to have LeBron James and Kyrie Irving reunited and send a disgruntled Westbrook to the San Antonio Spurs. As for what the Spurs will be willing to give to the Nets, it's still unclear. The Spurs have a ton of picks from recent trades that they've made. It's still uncertain who they are willing to package in a deal like Wojnarowski suggested.
As for what the Spurs will do with Westbrook, they have options to sit him out for the rest of the season or agree to a contract buyout. The Houston Rockets did this after acquiring John Wall from the Washington Wizards. After suffering a hamstring injury back in April 2021, they sat him out until they reached a contract buyout just weeks ago.
What can the San Antonio Spurs do for Russell Westbrook?
After Nets forward Kevin Durant requested a trade last week, teams were quick to knock on the front office for their asking price. Aside from Durant's dilemma, Irving is also rumored to be in trade talks after opting into the final year of his contract. The Nets are asking for an All-Star in exchange for Durant, but teams are hesitant to give up their stars given how Durant has caused drama for his past teams.
Apart from the Nets' situation, the Lakers are looking to get Westbrook shipped out. The former MVP didn't see eye-to-eye with the Lakers management in regards to his role last season, which caused him to struggle the whole year.
With the Spurs, Westbrook will get a chance to either sit out the entire season and mentor the Spurs' young players. Or, he can agree to a buyout for a chance to play for a team that isn't the Lakers. Although he struggled last season, Westbrook's intensity and experience is still valuable. Contending teams might consider giving him a shot at redemption if he gets traded elsewhere.
For now, we'll just have to wait and see what the Lakers and the Nets have in store.