The Los Angeles Lakers seem to be in a significantly better place after three straight wins, potentially impacting Russell Westbrook’s immediate future.
L.A. has improved improves its record to 5-10 and moved up to 3.0 games behind the Play-In Tournament places. The Purple and Gold’s winning streak came despite LeBron James missing the last four contests due to a strained adductor. Anthony Davis has stepped up in James’ absence, putting up at least 30 points and 16 rebounds in all three recent wins.
But Davis has enjoyed plenty of support from the Lakers’ supporting cast — including Westbrook. The 2017 NBA MVP averaged 11.3 points, 11.3 assists and 5.0 rebounds during L.A.’s winning streak, continuing to thrive as the Purple and Gold’s sixth man in a stunning turnaround for the 34-year-old guard.
The Lakers tried to move on from Westbrook throughout the summer but failed to find a trade partner who would take on the playmaker’s expiring $47.1 million salary without demanding a future first-round pick from L.A. HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto reports the San Antonio Spurs were among the teams who refused to strike a deal with the Purple and Gold, even though they offered a lottery-protected first-round pick:
Before the season, the Lakers offered a lottery-protected first-round pick and Russell Westbrook to the Spurs for Josh Richardson and Doug McDermott, HoopsHype has learned. The Spurs, however, wanted an unprotected first-round pick for taking on Westbrook’s salary with the expectation he’d be waived, which the Lakers were unwilling to do, and talks stalled.
After the Lakers ended the first month of the 2022-23 season with one of the worst records in the NBA, reports claimed the front office would soon resume Westbrook trade talks in search of roster reinforcements.
But now that the Purple and Gold’s fortunes—as well as Westbrook’s—seem to be turning, L.A. could reassess their plans for the guard. If he can keep up the production off the bench, the Lakers might be better off finishing the season with the guard, allowing them to keep the highly-coveted 2027 and 2029 first-round picks.
Lakers turned down Raptors’ trade offer for Talen Horton-Tucker including first-round pick
The Lakers reportedly came close to acquiring another first-rounder last season but rejected the Toronto Raptors’ offer of a pick and Khem Birch for Talen Horton-Tucker.
It seems L.A. refused to send Horton-Tucker to Toronto in back-to-back seasons. The Purple and Gold’s unwillingness to part ways with the young wing derailed the deal that nearly brought Kyle Lowry to L.A. before the 2020 trade deadline.
The Lakers ended up trading Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson to the Utah Jazz in exchange for Patrick Beverley last summer.
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