Los Angeles Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook has made a significant career change while being involved in a bevy of trade rumors.
The 2016-17 MVP has signed with Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports Management, according to an August 1 tweet from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Westbrook and his longtime agent, Thad Foucher of Wasserman, parted ways on July 15. Foucher released a lengthy statement to Wojnarowski explaining why he and Westbrook cut ties with each other.
“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.”
Lakers Are Trying to Trade Westbrook
The Lakers are actively trying to trade Westbrook, who was second in the NBA in turnovers and had the sixth-worst effective field goal percentage last season. Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on July 25 that 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, no deals appear to be looming in those conversations.
Westbrook, the NBA’s all-time leader in triple-doubles, started 78 games for the Lakers last season. The nine-time All-Star and two-time scoring champion 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 seven-time All-Star Kyrie Irving and the Pacers for shooting guard Buddy Hield and center Myles Turner. However, no Westbrook trade has gained traction.
Lakers Having Trouble Trading Westbrook
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported on July 16 that the Lakers offered Westbrook and draft picks 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 advanced any closer to an agreement.
Meanwhile, Bob Kravitz of The Athletic reported on July 22 that a 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 and Los Angeles doesn’t want to part ways with more than one draft pick.
According to a July 15 report from Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Westbrook, 33, has never requested to be traded by the Lakers.