Lakers Rumors: It’s ‘Increasingly Unlikely’ That Russell Westbrook Will Be Traded
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have looked like a much better team since the start of the 2022-23 season, but it hasn’t meant too much in the standings as they still sit 12th in the Western Conference.

Granted, they are only two games out of the final Play-In Tournament spot but recent overtime losses to the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics erased any momentum the team has built. Los Angeles has been able to remain competitive against some of the best teams in the league, but it’s clear that the roster is in need of more help.

Since moving to the bench, Russell Westbrook has become a much more productive player as he looks more comfortable and confident when given the opportunity to run the offense solo. While his raw counting stats are night and day compared to his starting ones, the fact of the matter remains that his gargantuan $47 million contract is one of the few avenues to acquiring multiple players back in a deal.

However, it sounds like his recent improved play has got the front office thinking twice about potentially dealing him before the trade deadline, via Sam Amick of The Athletic:

According to a source with knowledge of the Lakers’ plans, Westbrook’s play this past month has made it increasingly unlikely that he will be traded before the league’s Feb. 9 deadline.

It’s quite the reversal from the offseason where it seemed like an inevitability that Westbrook would be moved considering the disastrous turnout of the 2021-22 campaign. There’s no denying that the point guard has been a driving force behind Los Angeles’ improved play, but it’s an open question as to whether or not he can be counted on in high-leverage situations.

At his best, Westbrook is a top-tier playmaker who can carry the ballhandling burden for LeBron James and make life easier for Anthony Davis. However, there are some in the organization that have concerns about Westbrook’s fit next to James and Davis and that certainly is worth considering when discussing deals around the deadline.

Even with his new report, expect the Lakers to be linked to several trades in the next few weeks with Westbrook’s name surely to be included.

Russell Westbrook doesn’t believe Lakers lost belief after losses to 76ers and Celtics

The losses to the 76ers and Celtics hurt more than normal given that the Lakers could’ve easily won both had Davis come through at the free throw line. However, Westbrook is still confident that the team believes they can compete and win against the upper echelon of teams.

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