Despite the Lakers reportedly keeping their options open on a Russell Westbrook trade deal, the team reportedly still hasn’t found a trade that could “elevate them,” according to NBA reporter Brian Windhorst. Reports that the Lakers were involved in Westbrook trade talks with the Jazz and Knicks turned out to be untrue, per RealGM.
According to Windhorst, the Lakers have had several talks on possible three-way deals, just not with Utah or New York.
“From what I am told, while it would make sense for the Knicks to have done a three-way deal with the Jazz and Lakers, I am told that that was never part of the talks,” Windhorst said on The Hoop Collective Podcast. “There were three-team constructions between the Jazz and Knicks for Donovan Mitchell where players would go to a third team. They obviously didn’t do a deal, but the Lakers were never directly involved with that.”
The Lakers instead have reportedly been involved in negotiations with the Pacers, Spurs, and a few other unnamed teams that are reportedly interested in acquiring the all-time triple-double king. The Lakers are reportedly persistent in not attaching their next two trade-eligible first-round picks, from the 2027 and 2029 NBA Draft, in a Westbrook deal.
At this point, it’s more likely that the Lakers will keep Westbrook and his expiring $47.1 million contract this season and explore their options once the trade deadline approaches in February.
“I just don’t think the Lakers believe right now there’s a Westbrook trade that they have, even with their picks, that elevates them,” Windhorst said. “The feel around the league is right now, and that can change in a week; the feel around the league from executives I talk to right now is that they’re going to try to make the best of what they have and hope for situations to change in their favor.”
The Lakers missed the playoffs r after finishing the injury-riddled 2021-22 season at 33-49. During the offseason, the Lakers relieved Frank Vogel of head coaching duties and hired Darvin Ham.
The Lakers hope that Ham can help the team improve defensively, build the offense around Anthony Davis, and find a way to help Westbrook thrive after he averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per game on 44.4 percent shooting from the field. Ham has told reporters that he believes Westbrook has a “ton left in the tank” and has a “wholehearted plan” to utilize Westbrook to his full potential.
Ham also believes that recently acquired Patrick Beverley and Westbrook can start games together if they both play defense. Beverley believes he can mesh “perfectly” next to Westbrook when the 2017 MVP plays out of the post and in transition.
The Lakers open the season against Golden State on the same night the Warriors will receive their 2022 NBA championship rings.
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