The Los Angeles Lakers are aggressively trying to trade Russell Westbrook before training camp begins. According to a July 25 report 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.
The Lakers are struggling to trade Westbrook, who was second in the NBA in turnovers and had the sixth-worst effective field goal percentage last season. The 2016-17 MVP picked up his $47.1 million player option for next season and two NBA contenders reportedly have zero interest in acquiring him.
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reported on July 22 that the Dallas Mavericks would not trade for Westbrook. Meanwhile, Darren “Doogie” Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News reported on July 25 that the Minnesota Timberwolves were in the same boat as the Mavericks.
“You guys told me you heard that and I checked in,” MacMahon said on The Hoop Collective Podcast. “I got a very quick, ‘Hell no.'”
“We begin with Brian Windhorst, who’s been on this podcast a lot. He floated on his podcast that the Wolves had been mentioned as a potential trade partner for Russell Westbrook. I do not doubt his information,” Wolfson said on The Scoop w/ Doogie Podcast. “What I can tell you is, I feel very strong in saying that the LA Lakers, Rob Pelinka, initiated that dialog. I also feel very, very, very, very, very confident in suggesting that Russell Westbrook is not coming to the Timberwolves, that is not a trade that you need to foresee thinking about actually happening. Just get it out of your realm of possibilities in your Wolf-centric brain. Russell Westbrook is not landing here.”
Westbrook’s Value Is Low
Westbrook’s value around the league is extremely low. The nine-time All-Star started 78 games last season and averaged solid per-game numbers of 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists.
However, Westbrook had a plus-minus of -211 and he shot only 29.8% from beyond the arc and 66.7% from the free-throw line.
Westbrook was not only a poor fit next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the court due to his lack of shooting skills, but he was also reportedly aggressive throughout the 2021-22 season in film sessions when coaches pointed out his mistakes, according to a July 20 report from The Athletic’s Jovan Buha.
“From stuff I heard last season, like during film sessions, he would, you know, push back on stuff that was very obvious of like, ‘Hey, you missed this defensive rotation.’ He did not like being the center of attention in those film sessions,” Buha said on The Athletic NBA Show.
The Lakers, who missed the playoffs last season, went 31-47 in Westbrook’s 78 appearances.
Westbrook & James Not on Good Terms?
James and Westbrook didn’t sit next to each other or say hello during the Lakers’ Summer League game on July 8. James sat on the south baseline and Westbrook positioned himself 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.”
The New Orleans Pelicans’ social media team fired back at a Twitter user on July 14 who made fun of their profile picture by pointing out that Westbrook and James weren’t together at the Summer League game.