The Russell Westbrook trade drama appears to be far from over even though the Los Angeles Lakers start training camp in just a week.
Over the last two weeks, reports suggested Westbrook was likely to start the 2022-23 season on the Lakers roster. At the same time, L.A. was believed to have stayed in touch with the Utah Jazz, discussing potential trade options.
The Lakers seem to have a great interest in Bojan Bogdanovic. But Utah’s insistence on the Purple and Gold’s 2027 and 2029 first-round picks being part of any Westbrook deal appears to be the bone of contention. Still, the negotiations continue with The Athletic’s Jovan Buha and Sam Amick reporting L.A. has recently inquired about Bogdanovic, Jordan Clarkson and Malik Beasley:
In recent conversations with the Jazz, the Lakers have targeted Bogdanović, Jordan Clarkson and Malik Beasley, according to league sources. The Lakers’ desire to land the Pacers’ Buddy Hield has also been well-chronicled, with the former Kings guard nearly coming their way via trade last summer. The 29-year-old 3-point specialist has been a focal point in the Lakers’ offseason talks with Indiana as well — alongside Myles Turner — but a deal is not expected on that front.
The addition of Bogdanovic, Clarkson and Beasley would make sense for the Lakers, who still appear to lack shooting on the roster. However, the Purple and Gold just signed Dennis Schroder to a one-year, minimum deal, meaning they would have to waive someone to make space for the three players if only subtracting Westbrook.
Bogdanovic appears to be the key to the Lakers’ efforts to move Westbrook, which will reportedly end if the 33-year-old Jazz sharpshooter gets traded elsewhere before the season starts.
L.A. doesn’t seem to be interested in any other trade packages for Westbrook than what the Jazz has to offer. Meanwhile, many other NBA teams are reportedly pursuing the 33-year-old sharpshooter.
Westbrook might come off bench if he remains with Lakers
L.A.’s crowded backcourt raises questions over Westbrook’s potential role even if he stays with the team. Head coach Darvin Ham reportedly is considering using the 2017 NBA MVP off the bench unless he “outplays” Schroder and Patrick Beverley.
Ham is believed to have the full backing of the Lakers leadership and is willing to make tough decisions for the betterment of the team.
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