Lakers Rumors: L.A. Getting Creative To Bring Back Two Or Three ‘Difference-Makers’ In Russell Westbrook Trade
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers’ decision to bring back Russell Westbrook for 2022-23 has evidently backfired as L.A. remains winless after the first three games of the season.

The Lakers reportedly spent the entire summer trying to trade Westbrook, engaging in negotiations with multiple teams. However, they never found a deal that would satisfy them, mainly because most of the options involved putting L.A.’s precious 2027 and 2029 first-round picks on the table. With the preseason approaching, the Lakers decided to start the new campaign with the roster they had, planning to return to the negotiating table if better deals emerge.

Trade rumors have quickly returned following the Lakers’ 0-3 start to the season. However, it appears the front office is still of the mindset that any Westbrook trade only makes sense if it significantly improves the roster. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reports L.A. is looking to bring back at least a couple of “difference-makers” in exchange for a package centered on the 2017 NBA MVP:

According to rival executives, the Lakers have pitched two, three and four-team trade packages throughout the summer and fall, grasping at the panacea that brings in two or three difference-makers in one swoop.

The first week of the season has shown the Lakers are more than unlikely to compete for the title with Westbrook on the roster. Besides the 33-year-old guard and his expiring $41.7 million contract, L.A. doesn’t have many trade assets to entice other teams into a sensible deal.

Meanwhile, the team owns the worst offense in the NBA, shooting an abysmal 40.7% from the field and 21.2% for 3. Westbrook himself averages 10.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.3 assists, making 28.9% of his shots and just 8.3% of his triples.

The playmaker’s struggles on offense are so glaring that opposing teams have started to match him up with their centers defensively, leaving him wide open while clogging the paint. Westbrook said he doesn’t know what to do about the tactic when asked about it after Sunday’s loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Lakers expected to reengage in Westbrook trade talks with Jazz later in 2022-23

The Lakers are still expected to try trading Westbrook later in the season. Reports claim they will likely reengage in negotiations with the Utah Jazz even though Utah has already traded L.A.’s summer target, Bojan Bogdanovic, to the Detroit Pistons.

The Purple and Gold are understood to still have interest in Charlotte Hornets star Terry Rozier and San Antonio Spurs sharpshooter Josh Richardson.

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