Russell Westbrook Reacts To Lakers’ Kyrie Irving Pursuit

Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

On Saturday, the Los Angeles Lakers came short in their 131-126 loss to the shorthanded New Orleans Pelicans. With LeBron James nearing NBA history and Kyrie Irving trade rumors looming large, a lot is going on surrounding the team.

In any move involving the Lakers acquiring Irving, they would need to send out Russell Westbrook to make it work financially. He finished with 15 points while shooting 6-11 from the floor, 2-3 from 3-point range, and 1-2 on free throws. He played 23 minutes but spent the final 11 minutes on the sidelines.

“Whatever decision they make, that’s up to them,” Westbrook said. “I’ve been all in since Day 1. I’m very supportive of my teammates. I compete every night.

Westbrook stood firm: “Whatever decision that they make, I’ll make sure I’m very professional like I always have been and always will be.”

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers & Kyrie Irving Updates

Westbrook has found a rhythm in a sixth-man role and is arguably the leading candidate for the award, averaging 15.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 7.5 assists in 28.7 minutes per game. The expectation is that his contract will be utilized in a trade, one way or another.

The Rui Hachimura trade was a signal that simply opening cap space isn’t the goal for the Lakers this summer. They have to use the spending power of Westbrook’s deal now and then re-sign who they acquire if they take back an impending free agent.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers & Kyrie Irving Updates

Even if the Lakers do not end up being the team that acquires Irving, they can leverage Westbrook’s expiring contract and their two future first-round picks to make critical additions. We’ve been told to keep an eye on Fred VanVleet of the Toronto Raptors. Other teams pursuing Irving’s services include the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, and LA Clippers.

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About Jake Rogers 406 Articles
Jake Rogers is a sports writer who attended Arizona State University and currently serves as a contributor for NBA Analysis Network.