Los Angeles Lakers fans have been on a roller coaster since the organization traded for Russell Westbrook in the summer of 2021.
Westbrook has mostly underperformed in a Lakers uniform and the team success hasn’t been there. As a result, his name has constantly been in trade rumors as the Lakers search for roster upgrades.
The Lakers were unable to trade Westbrook at the trade deadline last year though and the same can be said for this past offseason. L.A.’s reluctance to part with their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks coupled with the front office’s thinking that Darvin Ham can make it work has led to Westbrook starting the 2022-23 season with the Lakers.
Westbrook got off to a poor start, which led to Ham moving him to a bench role for the first time since his rookie season. To Westbrook’s credit, he embraced that bench role and has thrived since becoming L.A.’s sixth man.
In fact, the 33-year-old has played so well the last handful of games that Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report is reporting that the Lakers are now actually receiving trade calls on Westbrook:
With Russell Westbrook thriving in his new role as a sixth man, the Lakers are now receiving calls about his availability, sources say, but talks are not at a serious stage.
This is a huge turn of events that no one could have predicted just two weeks ago. Teams obviously were waiting to see if Westbrook is willing to embrace a bench role and now that he has, they may believe he can help their organization.
Even though Westbrook has played well, it hasn’t led to wins for the Lakers so it makes sense that they would still look to trade him. Westbrook’s $47 million expiring salary is really L.A.’s only trade chip along with their 2027 and 2029 draft picks that can bring back anything of value.
Considering how well Westbrook has played, it would be ideal if the Lakers can trade him and get back two or three quality players to add to their rotation without sacrificing both of their first-round picks. Rob Pelinka is believed to want to wait until after Thanksgiving before deciding to make a deal, so look for Westbrook talk to pick up then depending on where the Lakers sit in the standings.
Lakers not considering Davis trades
While Westbrook trades still remain very much on the table, the same can not be said for Anthony Davis. It was previously reported that the Lakers may look to shop their star big man with this season going south, but Haynes also reported on Thursday that is not the case and Davis isn’t going anywhere this season.
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