Report: Lakers have had “internal discussions” on trading Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook
Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) looks on against the Golden State Warriors during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. The Warriors won 121-114. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

When it comes to improving a team, only a few elite players are above trade rumors. For the Los Angeles Lakers, they’ve proven they’ll move beloved pieces for a step closer to a ring. This past offseason, they pulled off trades and let people walk for the services of one Russell Westbrook. It doesn’t look like much has changed in-season.

Westbrook was and is pegged as the final piece of the trio alongside Anthony Davis and LeBron James. In a move largely motivated by James and Davis, they elected to deter from a deal for Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield and bring him into the fold. Unfortunately, injuries and inconsistencies have hurt their prospects.

For that reason, surprisingly, there appear to be some reservations from the team about the move they made less than six months ago. Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report wrote today that the Lakers have evaluated the situation and considered a trade:

The trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook simply hasn’t blended as well as Lakers figures hoped, and Los Angeles has held internal discussions on trade scenarios for Russell Westbrook, league sources told B/R. But moving Westbrook and the two years, $91 million remaining on his contract does seem unlikely.

As stressed, the years on his deal and mere perception of Westbrook makes a move unlikely. But the fact that it’s being discussed is very telling. On the negative side, it shows they are weary of the challenge of integrating him. On the upside, the team is clearly in the market to improve. As reported yesterday, they’ve been linked to Ben Simmons and Jerami Grant. Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn have been eyed as additional assets that the Lakers can move.

It should also be noted that this possible trade was explicitly linked to Simmons by Jake Fischer. Simmons is repped by Klutch, the agency run by Rich Paul and the agency that the Lakers have had a long and deep relationship with due to LeBron James being represented by them. Reading the tea leaves, this may just be a move made by Klutch to increase Simmons’ trade value to finally get him out of Philly.

The Lakers have played well of late going 5-2 in their last seven games. Westbrook was also finding a groove over the course of those contests. He’s averaged 16.9 points, 7.7 assists and 5.4 rebounds in those games, shooting 50 percent from the field and 38 percent from long range.

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