For most of the offseason, the prevailing thought was the Los Angeles Lakers were going to trade Russell Westbrook.
However, after months of reported talks with multiple teams, the feeling now is that the embattled point guard will be on the roster to begin the 2022-23 season. The major holdup has reportedly been the Lakers’ reluctance to part with their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks, though a deal with the Utah Jazz involving Bojan Bogdanovic could materialize if the team is willing to throw in pick swaps.
For Westbrook, though, a trade would be the best way to rehab his value as he could get away from the L.A. spotlight, and in an appearance on the “The Lowe Post” podcast,
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN said he would be amenable to a move if it meant him going to a team that would let him be himself:
“Russ is very open to a trade,” Shelburne said. “He hasn’t asked for a trade. I’ve been assured of that. But he’s open to that, and somebody who wants him and wants to empower him and wants him to be Russell Westbrook of old.”
Westbrook’s split with his former agent seemed to indicate that he was indeed willing to get traded in the offseason, and this recent report seems to confirm those feelings. While Westbrook has yet to come out and request a trade, it’s fair to assume that he understands the situation and believes that’s the best path forward for his NBA career.
For the Lakers, it makes all the sense in the world to move him as they are far from a championship contender with the current roster. The youth and athleticism they added in free agency was a good start, but without credible outside shooters and defenders they’ll have a hard time competing with the best teams in the league.
Things change quickly in the NBA, so perhaps the Lakers will move off their stance regarding trading their draft capital if the right deal presents itself. But for now, it’s best to accept the idea that Westbrook will remain a Laker.
Patrick Beverley super excited to play with Russell Westbrook
Another reason why a Westbrook deal seemed inevitable was the addition of Patrick Beverley. The two have a checkered past and their on-court fit is questionable but despite those things, Beverley said he’s actually excited to play alongside Westbrook.
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