Russell Westbrook is set to hit the free agency next summer. The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to be among the possible suitors of the Oklahoma City Thunder star.
Westbrook has revealed that he has no plans of continuing in Oklahoma in the post-Kevin Durant era. Several rival teams are gearing up to pursue Westbrook in 2017 free agency.
The Lakers missed out on DeMar DeRozan this summer. Los Angeles has failed to make it to the playoffs for three consecutive seasons and desperately require a splash signing to return to the winning ways. Westbrook could be the right man for them.
But can the Lakers afford to bring Westbrook when his current contract expires?
Westbrook will eye a four-year, $120 million deal
Los Angeles has committed $17.6 million to Luol Deng and $15.6 million to Timofey Mozgov for 2017-18. There is enough room to rope in Westbrook, who will be eyeing a monstrous deal next summer.
The Lakers currently have cap max space of $25.3 million, with $76 million working in active contracts, according to the Spotrac. The franchisee can help themselves by making more roster moves.
Louis Williams, with an annual salary of $7 million will be in the final year of his contract. Nick Young ($5.6 million in 2017-18) and seldom-used Anthony Brown ($1.01 million in 2017-18) also don’t feature in Laker’s long-term plans. The front-office can consider trading these players to create room to fit Westbrook’s salary.
Westbrook will join Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin and Stephen Curry in free agency in 2017 offseason. Los Angeles will set sights on the Thunder star than any other player.
Westbrook could yield a value worth $344 million, which is higher than LeBron James’, according to the Fivethirtyeight.com‘s Carmelo algorithm. The reigning MVP has the highest valuation worth $404 million.