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Report: Russell Westbrook 'Real' Trade Target For 1 Notable Team

Russell Westbrook backs down Steph Curry.

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 19: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers controls the ball against Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors during the first half of a basketball game at Staples Center on October 19, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

With the 2022 NBA Finals officially in the books, the trade market is expected to heat up. Could we hear Russell Westbrook's name soon called?

Although new Lakers head coach Darvin Ham intends to keep Westbrook - as he admitted during his introductory press conference - there's no doubt Rob Pelinka and the rest of the front office will try and get his salary off the books. 

The Charlotte Hornets, meanwhile, could be a team that takes the bait. They need to clear up cap space past the 2022-23 season. Adding a player like Westbrook for a year and getting rid of Gordon Hayward's and Terry Rozier's contracts could be the play. 

Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer has the latest on the possibility, courtesy of Silver Screen and Roll:

The Russell Westbrook interest that Marc Stein reported months back is real. Though Westbrook makes little sense as a player next to Ball, he does have an expiring contract and the Hornets could be dropping the bag for restricted free agent Miles Bridges, plus LaMelo Ball’s extension is around the corner. It’s a good time to move some other long-term salary (e.g., Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier) for an expiring deal in Russ. They could also explore moving up from 13 and 15 into the top 10. No matter what, the Hornets should prioritize finding a big scoring wing who can complement LaMelo. Bridges is good. With him or not, the Hornets need someone.

The additions of Hayward and Rozier could give the Lakers a few solid rotation options. But their overall success next season will, as it always does, revolve around the health of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. 

Should the Lakers and Hornets pursue a trade centered on Westbrook?