Lakers’ Russell Westbrook Reacts to Trade Rumors Surrounding Him

Lakers star Russell Westbrook

Getty Lakers star Russell Westbrook

Los Angeles Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook’s name has been mentioned in trade rumors all offseason. Seemingly every day, there’s a new report stating that the Lakers are having trade talks centered around Westbrook with a different team.

The latest report came on July 25 from Shams Charania of The Athletic. The Utah Jazz, New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers are among the teams who have discussed deals with the Lakers involving Westbrook and draft picks. However, there appears no deal imminent in those conversations.

Westbrook knows the Lakers are shopping him. The one-time MVP was having dinner with friends on July 22 when LA paparazzi approached him and asked if he’s gotten tired of hearing his name in trade rumors. Westbrook ignored the man who was asking him questions, but he heard all the information.

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Westbrook started 78 games for the Lakers last season. The nine-time All-Star averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists while shooting 44.4% from the field, 29.8% from beyond the arc and 66.7% from the free-throw line.

The Lakers went 31-47 in Westbrook’s 78 appearances and didn’t qualify for the play-in tournament despite having the second-best preseason odds to win the championship.

Westbrook picked up his $47.1 million player option with the Lakers for next season. Los Angeles has tried to trade the UCLA product to the Brooklyn Nets for Kyrie Irving and the Pacers for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner. However, no Westbrook trade has gained traction.

Lakers Aren’t Close to Dealing Westbrook

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported on July 16 that the Lakers offered Westbrook to the Nets for Irving, who played three seasons with LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, talks between Los Angeles and Brooklyn haven’t progressed any closer to an agreement.

Meanwhile, Bob Kravitz of The Athletic reported on July 22 that a trade package that would have seen the Lakers trade Westbrook and a first-round pick to the Pacers for Turner and Hield is currently dead. Indiana wants a second first-round pick added to the deal.

Westbrook was second in the league in turnovers and he had the sixth-worst effective field goal percentage last season. The future Hall of Famer and James didn’t sit next to each other or say hello during Los Angeles’ Summer League game on July 8 in Las Vegas. James sat on the south baseline, while Westbrook positioned himself beside the Lakers’ bench on the opposite sideline.

Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register reported on July 15 that “several people within the Lakers organization acknowledged it was an awkward and tense moment between its two most high-profile superstars.”

Westbrook Doesn’t Have an Agent Right Now

Westbrook, 33, doesn’t have an agent right now. The two-time scoring champion and his longtime agent, Thad Foucher of Wasserman, parted ways on July 15. Foucher released a lengthy statement to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN explaining why he and Westbrook are no longer working together.

“Now, with a possibility of a fourth trade in four years, the marketplace is telling the Lakers they must add additional value with Russell in any trade scenario,” Foucher said. “And even then, such a trade may require Russell to immediately move on from the new team via buyout. My belief is that this type of transaction only serves to diminish Russell’s value and his best option is to stay with the Lakers, embrace the starting role and support that Darvin Ham publicly offered.

“Russell is a first-ballot Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame player and will prove that again before he is retired. Unfortunately, irreconcilable differences exist as to his best pathway forward and we are no longer working together. I wish Russell and his family the very best.”

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