The Los Angeles Lakers made it clear even before the end of the last regular season that acquiring Russell Westbrook was not a great idea. The LA front office has been desperately trying to get rid of the veteran point guard since the start of the off-season trade window. However, they have not been able to find a franchise willing to bid on Westbrook, who had one of the most inconsistent seasons of his career.
The Lakers came closest to trading the nine-time All-Star in exchange for the Brooklyn Nets’ guard Kyrie Irving. However, the trade discussions went completely cold after Kevin Durant decided to stay one more season in Brooklyn. Moreover, no other teams have shown any kind of interest in getting Westbrook without at least two first-round picks. However, the Lakers have been unwilling to give out their picks just to load Russell Westbrook off the roster.
But, it looks like the Lakers have finally found a way to shut off Westbrook next season if they fail to trade him off before the commencement of the training camp. LA recently acquired veteran guard Patrick Beverly in exchange for low-priced youngbloods Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson. The move could turn out to be quite crucial for the Lakers, as it allows them to sideline Russell Westbrook from their lineup even before the start of the season.
Russell Westbrook Might Get Dropped From the Lakers Squad
As per NBA Insider Jovan Buha, with Beverly’s arrival in the Lakers, there are increasing possibilities that they could sideline the inconsistent Russell Westbrook. Sources suggest that the Lakers would continue to look for a way to trade the 2017 league MVP. Moreover, the franchise now has an option to take Westbrook out of the team before the start of the training camp next month. Teams have been opting for such measures during the past few seasons to offload their expensive ex-All-Star players.
Meanwhile, Westbrook is in the final year of the maximum salary contract he signed during his time with Oklahoma City. The 33-year-old has opted for a player option and will earn $47.1m next season, whether he plays or not. The Huston Rockets pulled off a similar move with John Wall last season. Moreover, Oklahoma did the same to Al Horford during the second half of the 2020-21 season. The City offloaded Horford to the Boston Celtics while the Rockets had to buy out Wall this summer. After his exit, Wall signed a two-year, $13.2m contract with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Further, Horford started for the Celtics full-time in his first stint. The five-time All-Star also helped the team reach the NBA finals for the first time since 2010. However, it is quite uncertain to predict if Russell Westbrook will manage to make a comeback after being dropped out from the team. Russell had a mediocre last season, averaging 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per game. However, there was a lack of consistency in making valuable winning contributions. His inability to defend in Davis’ absence was clearly exposed. And apparently, the Lakers see him as a clear liability. Russell does not fit well with Lebron James and Anthony Davis. In addition, Westbrook’s first stint with the Lakers has affected his career gravely. Hence, no one has any idea what the future holds for Russell Westbrook.