Lakers Rumors: Russell Westbrook’s Deal To Rockets Failed Due To L.A.’s Refusal To Pay Extra Luxury Tax
Russell Westbrook, Lakers
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers decided against making costly trade moves before last week’s deadline, ending a stressful period that seemed to weigh on the players.

L.A. reportedly held talks about potential trade packages involving Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn, and Russell Westbrook. Rumors regarding the Lakers’ interest in sending Westbrook back to the Houston Rockets in exchange for John Wall had swirled around for weeks before the trade deadline. The Purple and Gold’s refusal to offer draft picks in addition to the 2017 NBA MVP is believed to have made the negotiations unsuccessful.

Expanding on the previous reports while on Brian Windhorst’s “Hoop Collective” podcast, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and Ramona Shelburne have added the Lakers also decided against taking on more salary than they would send to Houston in their “half-hearted efforts” to get a deadline deal done:

McMenamin: “There was an iteration of the John Wall trade that included Christian Wood that would have involved more money. I’ve been told from other sources in Houston that there was a message that the Lakers were not willing to take on more money.”

Shelburne: “That’s kind of the word around the league that the Lakers were making calls, if there was a trade that made sense, they would do it. I’ve heard it described as ‘maybe half-hearted efforts.’ They would do something if it was low-hanging fruit but they weren’t really willing to feel any pain, whether that was luxury tax money, whether that was more encumberment in the future, whether that was draft compensation.”

Conflicting reports about Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka’s communication with LeBron James and Anthony Davis regarding the team’s roster moves emerged after the trade deadline. However, Pelinka recently said his front office would turn to the buyout market in search of potential reinforcements with the full support of the franchise’s ownership.

This report would obviously conflict that, as it seems financial reasons were partly why the Lakers pulled out of a potential trade with the Rockets.

Lakers part of ‘aggressive pursuit’ of Goran Dragic

Former Miami Heat playmaker Goran Dragic is believed to be among the Lakers’ top targets on the buyout market. Dragic has already agreed to have his contract bought up by the San Antonio Spurs, where the 35-year-old guard landed last week.

The Lakers will reportedly join the L.A. Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls, and Brooklyn Nets in an “aggressive pursuit” of Dragic’s signature.

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