What If Russell Westbrook Was Traded For Damian Lillard
What If Russell Westbrook and Damian Lillard Swapped Teams?!?
Now I know, you all saw the title and are probably shocked this is even a video considering how unlikely. But just hear me out. This trade definitely isn’t happening this season but we can’t rule out that it will never happen, plus it’s fun to look into what could be if just one or two moves ended up happening, just like the Chris Paul trade that was vetoed all those years ago. In today’s video, we are going to talk about the benefits and problems a trade between these two players would cause for their respective teams, starting off with going over the Los Angeles Lakers side of things. Make sure you stick around until the end of the video to find out our thoughts on the Trail Blazers season if they were to pull the trigger on this deal!
The Lakers were bounced early from the playoffs last season by the Phoenix Suns in the first round. It was a depressing loss but one that was needed for a team that won the championship just one year prior. They got some much-needed rest along with extra time to seek out a new star to add onto their roster via trade. Names like Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Russell Westbrook and DeMar DeRozan were all explored during that time. Lillard happened to be not only the best fit but the most likely at one point. The Portland Trail Blazers were eliminated from playoff contention early yet again, losing in six to the Denver Nuggets. He was growing frustrated with the team’s lack of change on their constructed roster and was pushing for them to make a big move. He is already locked into a massive contract so free agency isn’t an option anytime soon. The Lakers could have swooped in and stole him from the Blazers right when this was happening. Granted, they would have had to give up quite a lot if they were to land this superstar. Talen Horton Tucker and a first round pick would have been the Blazers demands straight away along with Russ. There also would have been smaller pieces thrown in to even the deal up and get it all finalized, such as maybe a second-round pick. Though that all sounds too unrealistic for Portland given their needs defensively. I would think that the final offer would have to include Horton-Tucker, Westbrook and at least one first round pick for them to consider. Lillard would then form an unbelievable trio with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Lillard has shown time and time again that his three-point shooting and scoring ability is simply unmatched at the point guard position. There are only two or three other players in this league that are as talented offensively as Dame. That’s not even mentioning his clutch gene, something that has helped him knock home countless game winning shots including the historic one against the Oklahoma City Thunder a couple of years ago.
Defensively he isn’t the best, but with an elite coaching staff and some great defensive pieces around him that shouldn’t matter. He would be thrown right into the Lakers starting lineup alongside James, Davis, Malik Monk and possibly Wayne Ellington. The starting lineup isn’t important, but what is important is that trio. James admittedly had a below average season to his insane standards in 2021 but he’s getting older. This season he could put up almost identical numbers with Lillard next to him while not having to worry about being the primary ball handler every single time he touches the floor. That off-ball style could help him become more aggressive and drive into the scoring lanes a little more often than he has lately. How could defenses stop an aggressive James, a stellar scoring threat in Lillard and still have to worry about Anthony Davis in the back end. Davis would just be the glue that keeps this entire team together the whole year. He would be the teams rim protector and would be a fantastic lob threat for both James and Lillard. If for some reason neither of those players can get themselves going early on, you could expect Davis to start backing down in the paint and getting some good isolation looks himself. This Lakers team would just be too good, even better than the Brooklyn Nets roster of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden but not by that much. If this trade were to happen, I don’t see any team out in the Western Conference that would have been able to stop this team in the playoffs. Los Angeles would have cruised through teams like the Denver Nuggets, the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Clippers on their way to an NBA Finals appearance. They would be playing against either the Milwaukee Bucks or the Brooklyn Nets. They would probably beat the Bucks in about six games while beating the Nets in seven. Stick around until the end of the video to find out what would happen to the Blazers if Westbrook was sent over there. It is pretty crazy if you think about it so stick around!
So basically, just to round this whole section up. If the Lakers were to trade Westbrook and a few other pieces to the Portland Trail Blazers for Damian Lillard, the Lakers would wind up winning the NBA Championship for the second time in three years and cruise their way through the postseason. That seems about right to me! We would also get to see Carmelo Anthony win his first ever NBA Championship, something that fans have been waiting on for years now but haven’t been able to witness it just yet. With all of that in mind though, let’s look at how the Trail Blazers would fare after the trade.
Portland would end up with Westbrook, Horton-Tucker and a first round pick at least. So, let’s work with that. The Trail Blazers roster is pretty poorly constructed as it is and this trade really wouldn’t help them out too much. The starting lineup for this season would be Westbrook running the point, C.J. McCollum at the two, Robert Covington at the wing, possibly Larry Nance at the four and Jusuf Nurkic as the big man. This lineup is pretty objective though and could easily change, such as the team opting to roll with Norman Powell at the three spots with Covington running the four and Nance coming off the bench. There’s a lot of options in that area but that’s beside the point. Westbrook would work nicely with McCollum as their play styles couldn’t be more different. Russ loves to attack the basketball and fight through contact while CJ prefers to put the moves on defenders before pulling up for rhythm mid-range shots. He is also a high percentage three-point shooter which Russ definitely isn’t, giving them more spacing. Defensively, Russ would bring a lot more energy just because that’s the way he plays but their team wouldn’t improve that much from last season. Talen Horton-Tucker is solid in that area but may not be seeing a ton of minutes due to their crowded amount of offensive firepower. Luckily, Nurkic would be the rim protector and even though he isn’t the best in the league, he is more than capable of taking over that job. Off the bench would be a very nice group of guys. We could see Nance or Powell like we talked about earlier, Dennis Smith Jr could see the floor, Anfernee Simons has improved every season and the same goes for Nassir Little. We should also talk about Cody Zeller, who would definitely be seeing the floor after he was essentially the only free agent that the team really wanted to go out and grab during the offseason. Let’s be real here though, if Lillard was still on this roster they really wouldn’t be going much further. The roster is full of mediocre to above average talent and neither Westbrook or Lillard are talented enough to carry a team over other competitors with better chemistry and loaded rosters like the Lakers, Nets, Clippers, Bucks and Suns.
With this lineup in hand, they would definitely make the playoffs but not as a high seed due to their defensive issues and horrible injury history. This Portland group would wind up finishing as probably the seventh seed in the conference and sneak in by winning the play-in tournament games. They would line up with either the Los Angeles Clippers or the Phoenix Suns because the Lakers would hold that number one spot. Either team would give the Trail Blazers problems. The Clippers with a healthy Kawhi Leonard and Paul George would destroy a wing tandem of Powell and Covington and the Suns backcourt would give Russ and McCollum a run for their money with their incredible team chemistry and coaching. In my opinion, this team loses in five or six games to either of those teams. Assuming that by some miracle they make it past the first round then they would be smacked around by the Lakers if they cross paths with them and we all saw what the Nuggets did to them without Jamal Murray healthy. They would have to watch in absolute pain as the Lakers with their former superstar point guard walk their way into the postseason and win the championship right in front of their eyes.
This move would definitely shake up the future of the league. Maybe if Lillard winds up with the Lakers then other teams would get more aggressive to form new super teams. Here is another potential scenario if this trade would go down. We could see the Nets trade for Bradley Beal to counter the Lakers addition of Lillard. Imagine how crazy the NBA Finals would be that year with Beal, Irving, Durant, Blake Griffin and Harden going up against Lillard, Davis, James and Carmelo Anthony. The ratings for the game would be through the roof! Fans all over the world would want to fly out there and catch the game however they can and the ticket prices would be unbelievable given the amount of star power on the court in front of them! I have never really been a fan of super teams myself, but I can’t help by imagine how competitive these two teams would be if they were able to load their teams even more. Again, I would just feel bad for the Blazers. If they trade their superstar player away for a year or two of Russell Westbrook and finish with the same record as the year before then it would feel like a waste. But hey, the first-round pick could end up being the next LeBron, you never know. Talen Horton-Tucker has also flashed potential to seriously become a top player in the league if he continues to work and improve with what he has around him. Towards the end of last year, he was starting to come out of his shell and attack the rim more while playing more aggressively on defense. Honestly, he could be better for them than Russ! That’s not the point of this video though, the point was to demonstrate what would happen if they flipped team and I believe that the Lakers would be the clear-cut winners of this trade. Unless Portland was able to finesse another big rotation player from Los Angeles and multiple first round picks this deal wouldn’t even be worth considering!
But with that, we officially wrap up today’s video on what would happen if Russell Westbrook was traded for Damian Lillard. If you guys enjoyed this video, be sure to leave a like and subscribe because it really helps the channel out a lot! Also, remember to hit that bell icon so that you are always notified when we upload. We have a lot of insane stuff planned for the future that you won’t want to miss out on so stay tuned!