NBA Rumors: Surprising Team Has Interest In Russell Westbrook

Now that they've been eliminated from playoff contention, the Russell Westbrook saga can take center stage for the Los Angeles Lakers throughout the summer. NBA Insider Marc Stein says it's obvious that "they want to trade Westbrook before the start of next season." But who is interested in taking on his $47M contract? Stein mentions one surprising team: The Charlotte Hornets.

He says the Bugs "could emerge with Westbrook interest", largely due to a desire to clear a huge chunk of money off the books after next season. Westbrook becomes a free agent in 2023, so if the Hornets are able to unload some longer-term contracts this summer in return for him, they create $47M in cap space a year from now.

Lakers will need to take on long-term money to move Westbrook

"The scenario has... been mentioned by multiple rival teams in recent weeks," writes Stein, ''and, if nothing else, illustrates the likelihood that the Lakers would largely be limited to trades in which they’re the team taking on more long-term money if they want to move off Westbrook immediately.”

The Hornets, after all, will be signing Miles Bridges to a huge contract extension this summer, and the following year will be doing the same with their other young star, LaMelo Ball.

Names Stein mentions who could head out of town to make such a deal go down, include the likes of Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier and Kelly Oubre. 

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