The Los Angeles Lakers have been trying really hard to trade Russell Westbrook before a new season kicks off. The franchise had a rough last season due to a number of reasons. But Westbrook’s inconsistency has been talked about by the LA media the most. The Lakers acquired the nine-time All-Star to create a big three alongside LeBron Jame and Anthony Davis. However, the move turned out to be a nightmare for the Lakers, who have found it really hard to get rid of Westbrook. The trio played only 21 games last season with a disappointing 11-10 record. Moreover, the lack of consistency and outside shooting from Russell also mounted a lot more problems for the Lakers, who ended the season in the 11th seed with an embarrassing 33-49 record.
The LA front office has been in active contact with other franchises regarding the possible Westbrook trade. However, the $47m trade option that Westbrook has taken has made things tougher for the Lakers to trade him. Moreover, with the training camp approaching, the most tricky question for the Lakers would be about Westbrook’s future with the franchise and if he plays with the team next season. There were a number of trade rumors, including a possible Irving-Westbrook trade with the Brooklyn Nets. However, no solid results have come out of any discussions.
Lakers Want Westbrook Out Before Training Camp
As per NBA expert Jovan Buha, the Lakers would prefer to move Russell before the start of the training camp. The LA front office is considering the training camp as a soft deadline to move the 2017 MVP. The franchise believes that if Westbrook stays on the roster until September, he could turn out to be a massive distraction. Buga added, “With the media asking about his future, his relationship with James and the organization, Ham’s vision of his role and responsibilities.”
Thus, the Lakers would not want any distraction during their preparations for the upcoming season. However, the main question is if the Lakers are willing to sacrifice what is needed to trade Westbrook. The Lakers would most probably have to include their 2027 and 2029 first-round draft picks, which they have been unwilling to do.
However, with the regular season approaching, teams will feel the pressure to agree on a Westbrook deal. Thus, the Lakers might have to long off a little longer if they need to protect at least one of their future draft picks while ridding Westbrook from the franchise.