Lakers Rumors: L.A. Was ‘Caught Off Guard’ By Russell Westbrook’s Split From Agent
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers-Russell Westbrook saga has taken a few surprising turns recently, further adding to the uncertainty over the 2017 NBA MVP’s future.

Westbrook has been linked to a Lakers exit for months, most recently in a potential trade that would send Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving to L.A. The rumors got quieter as the Las Vegas Summer League was coming to an end — but they quickly came back following the news about Westbrook’s split from long-time agent Thad Foucher of Wasserman.

Foucher has released a statement, claiming he encouraged the 33-year-old to remain with the Lakers during the 2022-23 season. He also cited “irreconcilable differences” regarding Westbrook’s future moving forward as the reason behind the breakup, implying the playmaker prefers to find a new home.

Now, The Athletic’s Jovan Buha reports the Lakers didn’t see the news coming — with the circumstances only surprising the team further:

This is an unprecedented level of tea-spilling from an agent in real-time. It clearly speaks to a troubling dynamic behind the scenes, as the partnership evidently soured to the point that Foucher felt the need to get ahead of the report and publicly defend himself. According to league sources, the split caught several people around the Lakers off guard.

Other reports have claimed Westbrook wants to feel “wanted” by the Lakers — showing his desire to have success in L.A. by showing up to the team’s Summer League game against the Phoenix Suns.

Also, Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis reportedly each committed to making the Big 3 experiment work in a phone call during the first weekend of the Summer League — even though the first two didn’t even talk and sat on the opposite side of the court during the loss to Phoenix.

Knicks could show interest in swapping Julius Randle for Westbrook if they sign Donovan Mitchell from Jazz

The Lakers are reportedly looking at backup options in case they fail to acquire Irving. And the New York Knicks could potentially engage in talks with L.A. over a potential reunion with Julius Randle if they sign the Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell.

The Knicks will reportedly become try to find a way to get rid of Randle’s huge four-year contract if Mitchell lands in New York City — and might show interest in taking on Westbrook’s expiring $47.1 million deal.

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