Lakers Rumors: Russell Westbrook ‘Wants To Be Wanted’ In L.A.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

By the end of last season, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Russell Westbrook would be traded away from the Los Angeles Lakers at some point this offseason. But as the summer continues on, Westbrook remains with the purple and gold, penciled in as the Lakers starting point guard as it currently stands.

Westbrook’s connection with the Lakers is unclear as he and LeBron James never acknowledged each other during a recent Summer League game in which both were in the stands, both sitting on complete opposite sides of the arena. But new head coach Darvin Ham has raved about the conversations he has had with Westbrook and his desire to commit to the role Ham has for him within his system.

And according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski in a recent appearance on “Get Up,” Westbrook wants to make it work with the Lakers, and simply wants to be wanted by the team:

“In my conversations with Russell Westbrook in this offseason, I think as much as anything, he wants to be wanted. But look at his actions since the season ended, at the press conference for Darvin Ham and building a relationship with his new coach. They have spent time talking, texting, communicating and trying to figure out the best way to use Russell Westbrook if he’s there this year to maximize him for that team. And then Summer League last week in Vegas, Russell Westbrook comes to town, he’s sitting by the Laker bench with their young players, he’s with them going into halftime. So I think Russell Westbrook, he wants to have success in L.A. This is his fourth team in four years, his family, obviously that was a big part of this being able to go back to L.A. He’s been an integral part of that community, he grew up there. He doesn’t want to bounce around every year and this was in a lot of ways a dream scenario to go back there. Last year did not go well, didn’t go well for him and didn’t go well for others on the Lakers. But I think for Westbrook, he wants to make this work but he also knows he’s been in trade talks, he continues to be in trade talks, and if there were teams who landed him who have big cap space and have a really young team, they may not want a player at his stage in his career playing a lot of minutes or even necessarily being on the team because they’re in full rebuild. So it leads to certainly some uncertainty of what that might look like.”

Obviously for Westbrook, the ideal situation would be to remain in his hometown, for the Lakers, and succeed in helping the team return to championship status. The question of his ideal role and, more importantly, whether he is willing to accept it, remains unclear, as he recently decided to part ways with his agent over a disagreement on how he should proceed.

If a Kyrie Irving deal were to be agreed upon then Westbrook will certainly be a part of it, but it is anyone’s guess as to whether that will ultimately come through. And with the Lakers’ desire to deal Westbrook being well known, it makes sense why Westbrook doesn’t feel wanted by the franchise and parted ways with his agent, who suggested he should try to make it work with L.A.

Westbrook’s first year with the Lakers was a struggle, to say the least, and there were issues beyond just Westbrook. But if he remains on the roster to start the season, there may need to be some meetings to ensure everyone can come together and be on the same page once the season begins.

Andre Iguodala defends Lakers’ Russell Westbrook amidst negative reports

Westbrook may not be the most popular player amongst fans, but he has the respect of all players around the NBA, many of whom have come to his defense. One recent player to do so is Golden State Warriors veteran wing Andre Iguodala, who slammed all of the negative reports surrounding the Lakers guard.

Iguodala noted that he gets angry at some of the reports that come out, believing they accomplish nothing but shedding a negative light on Westbrook and others who deal with similar reporting.

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