The Los Angeles Lakers need a new starting point guard next season. Russell Westbrook has played poorly in his first year as a Laker, leading the NBA in turnovers and posting a plus-minus of -145. His homecoming to Los Angeles has been so bad that Lakers fans have booed him at home games and called him “Russell Westbrick” on social media.
The coaching staff of the Lakers pushed for Westbrook to be traded before the 2022 trade deadline, according to Bill Oram and Sam Amick of The Athletic. LAL could have traded Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for John Wall, but it would have required attaching draft considerations.
The Lakers are expected to try to trade Westbrook in the summer and Wall could be a player they pursue again. However, the purple and gold may lose Wall to his first team, the Washington Wizards.
According to David Aldridge of The Athletic, Wall would welcome a return to the Wizards, who drafted him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft.
“Wall would welcome a return to the team that took him with the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft,” Aldridge reported. “It’s something he recently discussed with people close to him and around the league. … I’m told (Bradley) Beal, though not overtly advocating a Wall return, wouldn’t dismiss a potential reunion out of hand.”
Wall hasn’t played at all this season for the Rockets, who are in rebuild mode. The five-time All-Star has a player option worth $47,366,760 for next season and he will likely pick it up. He was almost traded to the Lakers at the trade deadline, but the Lakers and Rockets couldn’t agree on a deal despite talking multiple times.
Lakers Declined Rockets’ Offer for Westbrook-Wall Swap
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the Lakers declined the Rockets’ offer of Wall for Westbrook at the trade deadline because Houston wanted a first-round pick to be thrown in. Wall is represented by Klutch Sports, the agency LeBron James and Anthony Davis are with.
The Lakers also discussed a trade with the Rockets involving Westbrook, Talen Horton-Tucker and a future first-round pick for Wall and Christian Wood, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN. If that report is true, LAL made a big mistake not completing it.
“Another construct that could have been discussed, depending on who you believe, is Christian Wood and John Wall for that package,” Windhorst said on NBA Today. “Which would have been interesting.”
It will be fascinating to see if the Lakers try to acquire Wall again this summer. One thing is clear, though: Westbrook can’t be a Laker next year.
Lakers Must Trade Westbrook No Matter What
The Lakers have to trade Westbrook this offseason. He’s a poor fit next to LeBron and Davis since he can’t shoot and it’s evident by watching his body language that he’s not having fun playing basketball.
Wall is a poor shooter like Westbrook. However, he’s not a turnover machine. It’s not a guarantee that the Lakers would be better with Wall over Westbrook, but the latter has been so insufficient this season that any replacement would be a breath of fresh air.
“Russell Westbrook is broken,” former NBA center and current ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins said on NBA Today. “And I’m not talking about his jump shot. Yes, we can go down the line and say how he should play better, but I can see it. I can see it in his body language, and now, we finally are realizing that Russell Westbrook is human.”
If the Wizards trade for Wall this offseason, the Lakers will have to look for another substitute for Westbrook. It will certainly be a situation to track in the summer.