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NBA World Reacts To Russell Westbrook Trade Rumor

Los Angeles Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 03: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during the game against the LA Clippers at Crypto.com Arena on February 03, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

With the NBA offseason beginning, Russell Westbrook is poised to enter the spotlight as a frequent subject of trade rumors.

In early April, Marc Stein said the Charlotte Hornets may have interest in the point guard. In his recent mock draft, The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor said that intrigue is "real."

"Though Westbrook makes little sense as a player next to [LaMelo] 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," O'Connor wrote. "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."

If not for his expiring contract, Westbrook would be a tough sell. He averaged his fewest points per game (18.5) since 2009-10 for a team that went 33-49. Westbrook will make a lofty $47 million during his 15th NBA season.

As one fan noted, the Lakers and Hornets have a connection. Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak used to hold the same position for the Lakers, so perhaps he's more amenable to negotiating with his former organization.

Other Twitter users also see these potential trade partners as the most feasible scenario for a Westbrook deal.

Another fan jokingly suggested this was the reason Kenny Atkinson decided to stay with the Golden State Warriors rather than become Charlotte's head coach.

A Westbrook trade to Charlotte could clear up more long-term cap space to sign Bridges. The Lakers, meanwhile, may believe they have a better chance of bouncing back without him following an underwhelming season.