The feelings about a potential breakup may be mutual between the Los Angeles Lakers and Russell Westbrook as trade rumors continue to swirl regarding the star’s future in LA. As the Lakers explore a potential trade for Kyrie Irving, ESPN’s Kendrick Perkins reported that Westbrook “wants out” of the Lakers.
“When I look at the Russell Westbrook situation, all right, I applaud Russell Westbrook because if I knew that the organization that I’m signed to right now is trying to actively trade me for Kyrie Irving, there’s no way in hell that I’m even around any one of them,” Perkins detailed during the July 11 episode of “Get Up.” “Now, here’s the thing: Russ actually wants out because he knows that the Lakers want Kyrie Irving, and we all know that the Lakers want Russ out and that they want Kyrie Irving.
“And I said this last week, that they have to be very, very careful that if they don’t get Kyrie Irving, how are they going to get Russell Westbrook to buy back in and to get the best version of himself after what he displayed and how the fans reacted and what he went through last year while playing for the Lakers?”
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Windhorst: Westbrook ‘Doesn’t Want to Get Traded’
Perkins’ comments came after Westbrook and LeBron James were both spotted at a Lakers summer league game but did not interact with each other at all, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. Not everyone is buying the idea that Westbrook is pushing for a trade out of Los Angeles. Perkins’ ESPN colleague Brian Windhorst noted that Westbrook is doing everything in his power to prove he is committed to the Lakers, including attending the team’s summer league matchups.
“Westbrook is trying to make it clear he is fully invested in the Lakers,” Windhorst said on the episode of “Get Up.” “He doesn’t want to get traded, he wants to stay there. But he comes to the games, sits on the summer league bench and starts talking and encouraging the players during the timeout. He is fully invested.
“LeBron was moving through town as part of normal business. I think LeBron would like the Lakers to upgrade their roster. The only way they can functionally do that is by trading Russell Westbrook and Westbrook knows this.”
NBA Insider: ‘The Lakers Will Continue to Explore Every Conceivable Option for Acquiring Irving’
Westbrook opted into the final season of his deal with the Lakers and will earn a $47 million salary for the 2022-23 season. The former All-Star will be a free agent in 2023. NBA insider Marc Stein reported that the Nets are not eager to take back Westbrook in any potential Irving deal.
“League sources maintain that the Nets are A) focused on trying to assemble a palatable Kevin Durant trade before proceeding to Irving scenarios and B) adamant in their resistance to taking back Westbrook in a theoretical Irving swap without, for starters, some first-round draft compensation added by the Lakers,” Stein wrote on July 9. “Westbrook, remember, is scheduled to earn nearly $11 million more than Irving next season, which would cost Brooklyn an additional $50 million once luxury-tax penalties are factored in, according to a piece earlier this week from my Bleacher Report colleague Jake Fischer.
“My sense is that the Lakers will continue to explore every conceivable option for acquiring Irving, who made his current presence in Los Angeles loudly known earlier in the week when he attended a Sparks game,” Stein wrote.