Russell Westbrook’s future has been one of the greatest mysteries of the Los Angeles Lakers’ offseason — but its solution is on the horizon less than three weeks before the start of training camp.
After Westbrook’s explosive exit interview that followed the guard’s poor first year with the team, it seemed inevitable L.A. would part ways with the 2017 NBA MVP before the 2022-23 season’s tip-off. Since then, reports have mentioned a plethora of different Westbrook trade scenarios the Lakers reportedly considered throughout the summer.
But ESPN’s Brian Windhorst claims that in the end, NBA executives believe the Purple and Gold are likely to start the season with the 33-year-old playmaker on the roster as they didn’t deem any of the options to move the guard good enough to get the deal done:
“Based on the executives I’m talking to, they believe that the Lakers have come to a conclusion that they’re not gonna trade Westbrook now because they don’t like any of their offers and they’re gonna try to make the best of it and see what happens. That’s what the executives think.”
The Lakers reportedly thought none of the offers for Westbrook’s expiring $47.1 million contract would significantly improve their roster — even if they flaunted their coveted first-round picks in hopes to get some valuable role players back in the deal:
“I don’t think the Lakers believe right now there’s a Westbrook trade that they have, even with their picks, that elevates them. So the feel within the league is right now, and it can change in a week, but the feel within the league from the executives that I’ve talked to right now is they’re gonna try to make the best with what they have and wait for the situation to change in their favor.”
The reports come after Patrick Beverley’s introductory press conference, during which head coach Darvin Ham said he was “happy” with how the Lakers roster has shaped up. Westbrook attended the presser to greet Beverley despite his years-long feud with the 34-year-old guard in another sign he could return to L.A. for another year.
Beverley ‘super excited’ to play with Westbrook
During his press conference, Beverley said he was “super excited” to share the floor with Westbrook. “A player with that competitive spirit, that fire, that will, that dog, that nastiness, that grit — to have a running mate like that, I have never had that,” he said.
“So I am super excited to see where it goes.”
Beverley also echoed Ham’s claims that Westbrook and he can complement each other’s game, creating an effective backcourt pairing.
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