Lakers’ ‘Biggest Stars’ Pushing for Blockbuster Trade: Report

anthony davis lebron james

Getty Anthony Davis and LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Even as rumors of Kyrie Irving staying with the Brooklyn Nets appear to gain momentum, the Los Angeles Lakers‘ “biggest stars” reportedly want Irving on the team next season.

There are “strong beliefs that the Lakers’ biggest stars have been pushing for team to trade” for Irving, according to a July 15 story by The Los Angeles Times’ Dan Woike and Broderick Turner about the Lakers’ Russell Westbrook splitting with his longtime agent, Thad Boucher.

Woike and Turner didn’t specifically name LeBron James or Anthony Davis, but they are the only other current “biggest stars” on the team besides Westbrook.

Acquiring Irving would likely mean jettisoning Westbrook, whose situation with the Lakers  appears to be reaching a boiling point, even to where James and Westbrook did not interact at a summer league game last week in Las Vegas.

“Still, the relationship between the Lakers and [Russell] Westbrook has looked severely strained this offseason,” Woike and Turner wrote. “He attended the Lakers’ summer league opener in Las Vegas, but he and LeBron James, who was also there, didn’t speak — a stark contrast to their time together last summer.

“The awkwardness was noted throughout NBA circles,” the story said.

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Westbrook Hasn’t Requested a Trade

Westbrook’s time in Los Angeles most likely won’t last past this upcoming season because he will become a free agent at season’s end. He underwhelmed in first season with the Lakers, turning over the ball 295 times (second most in the league) and scoring 18.5 points per game, his worst average since his second year in the league and 4.3 points below his career average.

Given his $44 million salary, Westbrook’s on-court shortcomings and the Lakers’ failure to make it to the playoffs, the trade that acquired Westbrook from Washington Wizards in June 2021 did not work out for LA. Lakers legend Magic Johnson even said in March that “this trade could go down as the worst trade in Laker history.”

Westbrook, who grew up in nearby Hawthorne and attended UCLA, endured booing from the fans and his wife, Nina, tweeted in March about death threats.

Despite it all, Westbrook still has not requested a trade, according to a July 15 tweet by Woike.

If he were to request a trade, the Lakers would have even less leverage than they do now.

Do Lakers Have to Trade Westbrook Now?

New head coach Darvin Ham has had a lot of nice things to say about Westbrook since taking the job. He even went so far as to say he already has a plan for how to use the guard. However, it would be addition by subtraction in the case of getting Westbrook off the team.

He did not prove to the Lakers that he was willing to make the necessary sacrifices to win games. The Lakers may need to have him come off the bench for him to work, but he would likely never willingly accept that. Also, there might be tension between him and LeBron. Even if the Lakers don’t trade for Irving, they likely will figure out how to get Westbrook off the team.

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