The Los Angeles Lakers have mostly tread water this season, sitting at 15-13, right in the middle of the crowded Western Conference playoff race in sixth. It isn’t where most anticipated the Lakers to be, but with LeBron James missing time, Anthony Davis not looking anything close to his best, Russell Westbrook struggling early, and a roster around those three that has not provided much help, there isn’t a lot of optimism that things will just turn around without a shakeup.
The problem is, there aren’t a lot of options for roster changes for this Lakers team, as the majority of their players are on minimum salaries and the only two who aren’t with any value are Talen Horton-Tucker (who has struggled of late) and Kendrick Nunn (who has been hurt all year and is yet to play). As such, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Lakers are taking a long look internally at any possible option that doesn’t involve dealing LeBron or AD, which has brought them to discussions about Westbrook, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.
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.
This is more an indictment of how this team is constructed than anything, as Westbrook, to his credit, has started to turn the corner of late and seems to be trying to adapt his game to better fit in with the Lakers other two stars. It’s simply a matter of, if there is a major upgrade to be made, the Lakers will have to ship out a big piece, and Westbrook’s the only real option. The problem with that is, Westbrook’s value compared to his contract will make it difficult to deal him, as Fischer notes, and few teams will value Westbrook as highly as the Lakers did this past summer.
The Lakers are clearly trying to get in on just about anyone on the trade market, as they’ve been connected to Ben Simmons and Jerami Grant recently, despite not having much of anything that would seem to entice either the Sixers or Pistons in trade talks. It certainly seems like the Lakers front office is just going to keep calling teams without much to offer and hope someone just so happens to be in love with the idea they can turn THT into a star or believes Westbrook is their missing piece, but the latter, in particular, seems more like an internal dream of the Lakers than anything that will ever gain much traction.