Lakers Rumors: Latest on Russell Westbrook Trade Buzz, Nick Young and More

There was a time when the Los Angeles Lakers would have been at the center of every major rumor during free agency and would have made a giant splash in a summer with so many talented players hitting the market.

These days, however, the Lakers are signing veterans such as Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov while they look to build a talented roster around youngsters such as Brandon Ingram, D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle. 

No, L.A. isn't the sexy destination it once was in the NBA, at least not at the moment. But that could change with the acquisition of one player: Russell Westbrook.

It isn't ridiculous to imagine the Oklahoma City Thunder trading their star before next summer, when he hits free agency. After all, there's no guarantee he'll re-sign with the Thunder, and the organization can't afford to lose another superstar without getting something in return after Kevin Durant signed with the Golden State Warriors.

Westbrook won't sign a contract extension with the team before he hits free agency, as David Aldridge of Turner Sports reported earlier in the week. So it isn't hard to see how a trade could materialize. 

But the Lakers reportedly don't feel like they need to trade for Westbrook. They think they can wait him out until free agency, as Chris Broussard of ESPN said in an interview on MSG.

"The Lakers think they can sign (Westbrook)," Broussard said. "I was talking to some people, some executives yesterday about possible trades they might do, or offer, and I was told they think they can sign him as a free agent. So, why should they give up anything?"

There are a few potential answers to that question. 

For one, there are never any guarantees in free agency, and the Lakers would be banking on Westbrook's wanting to lead a team of young guns during the development periods of their careers. Meanwhile, teams w...

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