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In the case of the Los Angeles Lakers, trading away Russell Westbrook is possibly one of their biggest priorities entering their layoff of redeem. 

After a lowly season marred by disappointment, the historic franchise is determined to retool its roster by acquiring the best possible units they can have in order to be competitive once again. Set aside the hype and expectations, they are determined to make some noise for the next season.

Yet, as desperate as they can be, Los Angeles will look conservative and mindful of the offers they can get in exchange for the former league MVP. 

League insider Marc Stein reported on Sunday that the Lakers will have “more boundaries” and heavily considers the injury history of the proposed players that they will gain around a Westbrook deal because of the unavailability that club centerpieces LeBron James and Anthony Davis have presented this season. 

And the rumors of Charlotte Hornets’ Gordon Hayward finding himself in California next season is not possible to happen. If ever the Hornets would want to have serious trade talks in acquiring the future Hall of Famer, L.A. looks more into Terry Rozier.

Yet it has since been conveyed to me that the Lakers have more boundaries than advertised when it comes to weighing Westbrook trades. One league source said that injury histories would be a prime consideration in any deal, given how injuries have so routinely intruded upon the last two seasons for both 37-year-old LeBron James and 29-year-old Anthony Davis.

Translation: The Lakers are unlikely to consent to a Charlotte trade headlined by Gordon Hayward — not after Hayward’s first two seasons in Charlotte have likewise been injury-filled. The Lakers surely understand that they need to factor in durability if they are taking on long-term money, which suggests that Terry Rozier would have to be the Southern California-bound headliner if the Hornets and Lakers eventually progress to serious trade talks.

The Lakers endured the majority of the 2021-2022 season without James and Davis, and their reasoning looks valid if they want to include themselves again in the mix of the league’s legitimate title contenders. 

Though Hayward looks like an upgrade and a complimentary one as the team’s third option on paper, he still looks like a shell of his former self due to injuries. Throughout this season, he only logged 49 games and had an average of 15.9 points, 4.6 boards, and 3.6 assists. When it mattered the most, the one-time All-Star also missed Charlotte’s most important game this year, as his team missed his veteran presence and crumbled in the hands of the Atlanta Hawks in the Play-In knockout match. 

As playoff participants are having a hard time modifying themselves every game for survival, the Lakers meanwhile are keen on their options and plans this offseason. With Davis and James still in town, the only thing they can do is to seize their chances for the eighteenth crown.