There are plenty of dream acquisitions for fans of the Los Angeles Lakers and many times those players are guys who grew up in the Los Angeles area. One of the biggest, and most hoped for is Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook who grew up in Hawthorne and attended Leuzinger High before moving on to UCLA.
Originally the summer of 2017 was the target as Westbrook’s original contract was set to run out. However, after Kevin Durant left the franchise, Westbrook agreed to an extension with the Thunder that pushed his potential opt-out back one year.
Now Westbrook can still opt-out after the 2018 season and become a free agent if he chooses, but in speaking after the Thunder were eliminated from the playoffs by the Houston Rockets, it sounds like Westbrook has no plans on leaving the Thunder via Royce Young of ESPN:
“That’s something, like I said, I haven’t thought about anything, obviously,” Westbrook said. “Everybody knows that I like Oklahoma City and I love being here and I love everybody here. But I haven’t even thought about that. Obviously, Oklahoma City is a place that I want to be.”
It would definitely be great to see Westbrook in purple and gold, but it seems unlikely that he would leave the Thunder, especially with the amount of money they could offer him. The MVP front-runner would be in line for a massive contract extension this summer and it is very possible he never even hits the market.
In the meantime, the Lakers will have to focus on other, more attainable, targets. Indiana’s Paul George is the biggest name being mentioned he certainly seems to be a possibility for the Lakers, though a lot of things still must fall into place.
It won’t be until the NBA Draft Lottery on May 16 that things will begin to take shape for the Lakers as they will find out whether or not they’ll keep their top-3 protected draft pick.