One of the Los Angeles Lakers‘ best players hasn’t requested a trade despite rumblings he wants to play for another team.
According to a July 15 report from Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Russell Westbrook has never requested to be traded by the Lakers.
“Multiple people with knowledge of the situation told The Times that Westbrook has never requested to be traded,” Woike and Turner reported. “Earlier this offseason, he opted into the final year of his contract, which will pay him $47 million this coming season.”
Westbrook, the 2016-17 MVP, struggled last season, finishing second in the NBA in turnovers and posting an effective field goal percentage of 47.6%, which was sixth-worst in the league. The Lakers, who missed the playoffs in 2021-22, are engaged in Westbrook trade talks with the Brooklyn Nets and Indiana Pacers, according to a July 9 report from ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
Westbrook, Longtime Agent Parted Ways over ‘Irreconcilable Differences’
Westbrook 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.”
Westbrook appeared in 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. Westbrook picked up his $47.1 million player option for next season. However, the Lakers are still trying to trade him.
Lakers Are Trying to Get Kyrie Irving
The Lakers are trying to get Nets guard Kyrie Irving, who won the 2016 championship with LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, talks between Los Angeles and Brooklyn haven’t progressed any closer to an agreement, according to a July 16 report from McMenamin.
“Los Angeles has engaged Brooklyn in trade talks in recent weeks to attempt to acquire Irving in a deal that would send Russell Westbrook to the Nets, sources told ESPN,” McMenamin reported. “Thus far, those talks have not progressed toward an agreement.”
James and Westbrook didn’t say hello or sit next to each other during the Lakers’ 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.”