Golden State Warriors big man Draymond Green has a word of warning for his rival — trade Russell Westbrook at your own risk.
Green sounded off on the rumors that the Los Angeles Lakers could be angling to ship away the former MVP, saying that Golden State’s rival still needs time to gel and to give Westbrook a chance to show off his abilities when the team is at full strength.
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Green Sounds Off
In the most recent episode of The Draymond Green Show, the Warriors star said he’s not putting too much stock in the ongoing rumors that the Lakers are looking to trade Westbrook. He advised against the move, saying Westbrook has unfairly become a lightning rod for criticism of all that’s gone wrong for the Lakers this season.
“The reality is, I’m not sure Russell Westbrook gets traded,” Green said. “If I’m guessing, just as an NBA fan, I don’t really foresee it happening. Nor, do I think it really should happen.
“You haven’t really had the opportunity to see that team healthy and how they could grow together healthy. I also don’t like how Russell Westbrook gets all of the blame for everything going wrong. It’s just not possible that one guy is to blame for everything going wrong.”
The 33-year-old Westbrook is averaging 18.5 points per game this season, his lowest total since the 2009 season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, his second year in the league. The Lakers came into the season with title hopes but have struggled, sitting at the edge of the playoff race in the Western Conference at 24-24.
Lakers Holding off on Westbrook Trade
Reports indicate that the Los Angeles front office may agree with Green’s assessment. NBA insider Marc Stein reported that the Lakers are worried about paying a high premium to move on from Westbrook, especially after spending so much to acquire him from the Washington Wizards. Unless the Lakers can somehow land John Wall from the Houston Rockets, a deal may be unlikely, Stein wrote.
“Barring the emergence of an expanded trade construction that involves three or more teams, or allows for a Westbrook-for-Wall exchange without including the precious draft pick, L.A.’s clear preference, sources say, is to bank on Westbrook finding another gear in the second half like he did for the Wizards last season,” Stein wrote in his latest newsletter.
The Lakers also seem to recognize that Westbrook’s enormous contract would make it very difficult to find a willing trade partner. A Lakers source told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that the team will likely have to forge ahead, despite his struggles.
“It’s not like [Westbrook’s] a tradable player where if it’s not working out you just move on; everybody in the NBA knows that,” the team source said. “So it’s got to work. This is the only option. There is no Plan B for this season.”
Green and the Warriors have benefitted from the struggles of their Pacific Division rival. The Warriors are currently No. 2 in the conference at 35-13, three-and-a-half games behind the Phoenix Suns for first place but 11 games ahead of the Lakers.