There has been a lot of talk on the Russell Westbrook trade front lately, so let’s just get right into it.
According to The Athletic’s Johan Buvathe Los Angeles Lakers are now leaning towards keeping Westbrookas opposing teams are still asking for a first-round pick to take on the former league MVP’s contract, even despite him being in the final year of his deal:
As The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported last week, the Lakers are now strongly considering the possibility of keeping Westbrook because of the hardball stance the league is currently taking in trade negotiations. Teams have been demanding the inclusion of at least one first-round pick to take on Westbrook’s massive expiring contract, according to league sources. Rival teams know how much of a public trainwreck last season was for the Lakers, and they’re not looking to do Los Angeles any favors by helping them off of Westbrook’s contract.
The Lakers remain firmly opposed to adding a first-round pick to the pot just to trade Westbrook, according to Buva.
Veteran NBA scribe David Aldridge also recently broke down a potential Westbrook trade in a way only he can (via The Athletic):
Even if you offer him (in a trade), what are you, realistically, going to get back? I told them this too — you’re going to get some contracts you probably don’t want, and they’re going to go (chronologically) past his contract. You’ve really got to think about that. Are those players you’re going to get back, are they going to really help you? I said, talk to him. Whatever happened (this season), how can you make it better with Russell? How can you make it more comfortable? So they’ve got to figure all these things out. Take him out, take him to dinner or sit him down. How can this thing be better? ‘Cause if he’s going to be there, it’s got to be better. I guess whoever they name, that’s the first thing they’re going to have to do. And you can’t sit down once. You’re going to have to sit down for a week or two to try to figure that thing out.
What’s more, according to Sam Aickas the Lakers continue their search for a new head coach, candidates are reportedly being asked how they would use Westbrook in their offensea sign that the team could be looking at keeping the veteran triple-double machine on their roster, at least through the first half of the season:
The notion of Russell Westbrook remaining part of their program is seeming more real all the time. Despite the widely held belief that the Lakers would find a way to trade Westbrook before the start of next season, sources say their coaching candidates have been asked to discuss how they would use him in their system during interviews. The takeaway for candidates, it seems, is that maximizing Westbrook’s presence after his disastrous 2021-22 season is considered an important part of this job.
However this story unfolds, expect to keep hearing Westbrook’s name in trade scuttle, as the Lakers remain the league’s most interesting soap opera.
For the latest on the Russell Westbrook trade front, click here.