For months we have heard about the Los Angeles Lakers looking to make a trade involving point guard Russell Westbrook. Going back to the NBA trade deadline in February they have been attempting to unload him, but no deal has materialized.
It isn’t too much of a surprise given how poorly things went for Los Angeles during the season. While all of their failures can’t be blamed on Westbrook, he certainly didn’t provide too many positives. He struggled on both ends of the court, scoring the fewest points per game since his second in the NBA and struggling to contain his man on defense.
A negative on both ends of the court, the Lakers failed to find a niche that Westbrook could succeed in on the court. Other teams took notice of this as well and have set a very high price to take Westbrook on.
This would be the fourth time in four offseasons that Westbrook would be traded and in five straight seasons, he would be on a different team on opening night. At some point, Westbrook will no longer receive the benefit of the doubt and we may have reached that.
As a result, the price to take him on is steep. Two first-round picks are what teams are expecting to be compensated with, which is something that Los Angeles has been unwilling to do.
This has dragged on for a while, but how much longer could it take? According to one agent that spoke to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, this could go until the trade deadline.
“He’ll become easier to trade closer to the deadline [with the Lakers responsible for more than half of his 2022-23 salary]. That’s a lot less money for an owner to spend on,” the agent said. “Teams are more realistic on where they stand at that point. Other players become unhappy. Some may become available that [simply] aren’t right now.”
Would the Lakers keep starting Westbrook in that scenario, or would he be moved into a bench role? That is something he reportedly isn’t open to, but the Lakers need to do what is best for the organization, not Westbrook.
Another idea that has been floated is sending him in a situation similar to what the Houston Rockets had with John Wall last season. Whatever the Lakers decide, it sounds like a resolution isn’t very close to occurring in the Westbrook saga.
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