The NBA awaits the Los Angeles Lakers’ move regarding Russell Westbrook’s future amid L.A.’s struggles early in the 2022-23 season.
The Lakers head into Friday’s matchup with the Detroit Pistons with a 3-10 record, the third-worst in the league. The Purple and Gold’s offense was the biggest disappointment of the first month of the season — and it still ranks last with L.A. scoring just 105.4 points per 100 possessions in the first 13 games.
The Lakers’ play has improved over the last two outings when they shot 40.4% for 3, allowing them to snatch their third win of the campaign by defeating the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday. Westbrook’s good form has contributed to the victory as the 2017 NBA MVP registered 14 points in addition to 12 assists and six rebounds — proving again he’s been thriving since embracing the sixth-man role.
But L.A. reportedly hasn’t stopped monitoring the trade market in search of roster reinforcements. Sports Illustrated’s Howard Beck has said on “The Crossover” podcast that he’s heard from a Western Conference executive that L.A.’s move for Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal could still be in the cards:
“So here was the quote from the Western Conference executive I spoke to who had mentioned this,” Beck said. “He says, ‘Washington is the one that I keep thinking that’s going to happen. If you’re the Lakers, don’t you think you can get Bradley Beal? He’s got a no-trade clause. He wants to come to California.’”
Reports started linking Beal to the Lakers earlier in November — although adding the 10-year guard would likely need to request a trade to give L.A. a chance to land him.
Westbrook’s form surge could facilitate his return to D.C. The 34-year-old playmaker averages 18.3 points, 8.1 assists and 5.1 rebounds, shooting 41.5% from downtown.
Lakers receive calls about Westbrook’s availability
Westbrook’s 2022-23 performance has reportedly made NBA teams inquire about his availability — just a few months after the Lakers found it impossible to trade the guard for a reasonable price.
However, negotiations with any team aren’t believed to be at an advanced stage.
Other rumors claim the Purple and Gold could still reengage in Westbrook trade talks with the Utah Jazz, Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Hornets or San Antonio Spurs.
However, they might find it even more difficult to strike a deal with the Pacers now with the L.A. Clippers reportedly entering the race for Lakers target Myles Turner.
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